Sailing: Cognition, action, communication


  • Thora Tenbrink
  • Frank Dylla


navigation, planning, embodied cognition, reference frames, communication, concepts, complexity


How do humans perceive and think about space, and how can this be represented adequately? For everyday activities such as locating objects or places, route planning, and the like, many insights have been gained over the past few decades, feeding into theories of spatial cognition and frameworks for spatial information science. In this paper, we explore sailing as a more specialized domain that has not yet been considered in this way, but has a lot to offer precisely because of its peculiarities. Sailing involves ways of thinking about space that are not normally required (or even acquired) in everyday life. Movement in this domain is based on a combination of external forces and internal (human) intentions that impose various kinds of directionality, affecting local action as well as global planning. Sailing terminology is spatial to a high extent, and involves a range of concepts that have received little attention in the spatial cognition community. We explore the area by focusing on the core features of cognition, action, and communication, and suggest a range of promising future areas of research in this domain as a showcase of the fascinating flexibility of human spatial cognition.







Research Articles