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Although I've taught various aspects of psychology from cognitive, clinical and biological to applied, environmental and occupational, I currently mainly teach research methods, statistics and critical thinking. My main research work to date has been in spatial cognition people’s sense and understanding of space and place and also in people’s interaction with digital (spatial and other) information.

I'm an applied psychologist with a highly interdisciplinary outlook: I have collaborated widely, from geography and cartography to ergonomics, computing and information science, and from theology and clinical psychology to education and linguistics. This has mostly been within academia in the UK and US, apart from a couple of periods working in industry e.g., as a Senior Research Scientist at Ordnance Survey (Great Britain’s national mapping agency).

Much of my recent research has been around not only space but also place: how people name and conceive of the places they know in their home area; whether people's everyday use of placenames (as opposed to official definitions) can be identified from online 'Big Data'; how far our knowledge of space may be organised like our knowledge of semantic concepts; how this ‘top down’ knowledge might affect our viewing of visuospatial information sources such as maps.

More recently, as above, I've also begun to develop some joint interests linking theology and spirituality with approaches to mental health conditions such as addiction, and to well-being interventions such as forgiveness and gratitude.

Teaching responsibilities:

  • statistics and research methods
  • cognitive science
  • critical thinking

Higher Education Teaching Qualification: Higher Education Academy Fellowship (FHEA).

Areas of expertise

Human cognition, especially as applied to information processing and spatial understanding, e.g. concepts and categories, visual attention, spatial language, cartographic design and map use, vernacular geography. Also mental health, specifically with a biopsychosocial approach to causality and intervention.


  • Davies, C. (2020). Places as Fuzzy Locational Categories.  Acta Psychologica 202, 102937.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.actpsy.2019.102937
  • Montello, D., Fabrikant, S. and Davies, C. (2019). Cognitive Perspectives on Cartography and Other Geographic Visualizations. In: D. Montello (ed.), Handbook of Behavioral and Cognitive Geography, pp. 177-196. Edward Elgar.
  • Davies, C. (2019). Place-Based Knowledge Systems: Human and Machine. In: F.-B. Mocnik and R. Westerholt (eds.), Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Place - Proceedings of the Second International Symposium on Platial Information Science (PLATIAL'19). Zenodo. https://zenodo.org/record/3628865 
  • Davies, C. (2018). Place and Placing Locations: A Cognitive Perspective. In: R. Westerholt, F.-B. Mocnik and A. Zipf (eds.), On the Way to Platial Analysis: Can Geosocial Media Provide the Necessary Impetus? - Proceedings of the First Workshop on Platial Analysis (PLATIAL'18). Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1475268 
  • Davies, C. and Tenbrink, T. (2018) Place as Location Categories: Learning from Language. In: P. Fogliaroni, A. Ballatore and E. Clementini (eds.) Proceedings of Workshops and Posters at the 13th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2017), pp. 217-225. Lecture Notes in Geoinformation and Cartography. Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-63946-8_37 
  • Davies, C., Athersuch, L. and Amos, N. (2017) Sense of Direction: One or Two Dimensions? LIPIcs: Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (86). 9:1-9:13. DOI: 10.4230/LIPIcs.COSIT.2017.9
  • Davies, C., Fabrikant, S. and Hegarty, M. (2015) Towards empirically verified cartographic displays. In: R.R. Hoffman, P.A. Hancock, M. Scerbo, R. Parasuraman and J.L. Szalma (Eds) The Handbook of Applied Perception Research. Cambridge University Press.
  • Davies, C. and Peebles, D. (2010) Spaces or scenes: map-based orientation in urban environments. Spatial Cognition & Computation 10 (2-3), 135-56. https://doi.org/10.1080/13875861003759289
  • Klippel, A., Hirtle, S. and Davies, C. (2010) You-Are-Here Maps: creating spatial awareness through map-like representations. Spatial Cognition & Computation 10 (2-3), 83-93. https://doi.org/10.1080/13875861003770625
  • Lansdale, M., Underwood, G. and Davies, C. (2010) Something overlooked? How experts in change detection use visual saliency. Applied Cognitive Psychology 24 (2), 213-25. https://doi.org/10.1002/acp.1552
  • Davies, C., Li, C. and Albrecht, J. (2010) Human understanding of space. In: M. Haklay (ed.), Interacting with Geospatial Technologies, pp 19-36. Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Davies, C. (2009) Are places concepts? Familiarity and expertise effects in neighbourhood cognition. In: K.S. Hornsby et al. (eds), Spatial Information Theory: COSIT 2009. Aber Wrac'h, France, September 2009. LNCS Vol. 5756, pp 36-50. Berlin: Springer. 
  • Davies, C., Holt, I., Green, J., Harding, J. and Diamond, L. (2009) User needs and implications for modelling vague named places. Spatial Cognition & Computation 9 (3), 174-194.   https://doi.org/10.1080/13875860903121830
  • Davies, C., Holt, I., Green, J., Harding, J., & Diamond, L. (2008, September). User needs and the implications for modelling place. In Proc. of the International Workshop on Computational Models of Place (Vol. 8, No. 3, pp. 1-14). https://minerva-access.unimelb.edu.au/bitstream/handle/11343/34996/80234_place-08-proceedings.pdf?sequence=1#page=7
  • Davies, C. and Uttal, D.H. (2007) Map use and the development of spatial cognition. In: J.M. Plumert and J.P. Spencer (eds), The Emerging Spatial Mind, pp 219-47. Oxford University Press.
  • Lautenschütz, A., Davies, C., Raubal, M., Schwering, A. and Pederson, E. (2006) The influence of scale, context and spatial preposition in linguistic topology. In T. Barkowsky et al. (eds), Spatial Cognition V, Bremen, Germany. LNAI, Vol. 4387, pp 439-52. Berlin: Springer.
  • Davies, C., Tompkinson, W., Donnelly, N., Gordon, L., and Cave, K. (2006) Visual saliency as an aid to updating digital maps. Computers in Human Behavior 22, 672-84.
  • Davies, C. (2005) Finding and knowing: psychology, computers and information use. Taylor and Francis.
  • Blake, C.T., Davies, C., Jones, A., Morris, E. and Scanlon, E. (2003) Evaluating complex digital resources. ALT-J, Association for Learning Technology Journal 11 (1), 4-16.
  • Davies, C. (2002) When is a map not a map? Task and language in spatial interpretation with digital map displays. Applied Cognitive Psychology 16, 273-85.
  • Davies, C. and Pederson, E. (2001) Grid patterns and cultural expectations in urban wayfinding. In: D.R. Montello (ed.) Spatial Information Theory (Berlin: Springer), pp 400-14.
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