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Why People Get LostThe Psychology and Neuroscience of Spatial Cognition$
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Paul Dudchenko

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199210862

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199210862.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 July 2021

On being lost

On being lost

Chapter:
(p.1) Chapter 1 On being lost
Source:
Why People Get Lost
Author(s):

Paul A. Dudchenko

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199210862.003.0001

This chapter describes the stories of several individuals who have lost their way, or who have ‘turned around’ in unfamiliar environments. These include William Naismith, a Scottish mountaineer who became misoriented on a mountain, and descended on the wrong side. It also includes the account of Primo Levi, a prison-camp survivor, who got lost in the Russian woods. The experience of these individuals and others provides anecdotal evidence that human possess an internal sense of direction. Under normal circumstances, this sense works well, but if familiar landmarks are unavailable, it can lead us in the wrong direction. The chapter also introduces the distinction between space defined relative to our bodies (egocentric, or left-right space) and space that exists independent of the observer (absolute space).

Keywords:   lost, egocentric, allocentric, disorientation, William Naismith, Primo Levi

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