The "Cognitive Map" (Tolman, 1948) is a key notion in spatial processing studies. It refers to high level spatial representations. Although widely used, this term remains ambiguous. The aim of this book is two-fold: (1) to examine the most noteworthy studies (in laboratory settings) which have contributed during the last five decades to a better understanding of animal spatial representations; (2) to provide some hints for future research.Spatial tests designed by psychologists are useful tools for understanding the brain substrates of spatial memory. Conversely, brain treatments allow us to analyse the complex psychological mechanisms underlying spatial orientation. Within this interdisciplinary context, it is extremely important to take stock of a notion used (and sometimes misused) in cognitive neurosciences.
The historical background to the studies of animal spatial cognition - the concept of a cognitive map; exploration and spatial knowledge; the classical experimental paradigms; the plasticity of spatial representations - shortcuts and detours; properties of spatial representations - theoretical models of spatial processing at the psychological level; the hippocampus and spatial processing; the other structures involved in spatial processing; general models of distributed memory; conclusion - a picture of animal spatial representation at the psychological and brain levels.