Research has shown some indication that places can be linked to people's thought patterns in hidden ways. For instance, in my Intro Psych class, the professor talked about research that found people do better on tests when they take them in the same environment (e.g. the same classroom) where they learned the information.
However, I have a suspicion that my brain is especially obsessed with physical location. In addition to being overly concerned with maps, finding my way around, and other aspects of geography, I seem to consistently connect thoughts with places. For example, yesterday at work I had occasion to insert a hard return in a cell in an Excel spreadsheet. As I did this, I involuntarily pictured myself in the place where I first learned to do this by pressing Alt-Enter -- a desk at my work-study job in college.
The locations aren't necessarily related in any discernible way to the idea. The concept of distinguishing between the words "insure" and "ensure" is connected to a spot in Guilford on Beaver Head Rd near where it intersects with Great Hill Rd. When I'm deciding which one is more appropriate to use, for some reason I tend to picture that place.
I guess it's hard to say if this is any different than what others experience. But I wonder what this tendency means for being in an environment where my consumption of many different kinds of information and ideas occurs in one physical place, seated at my computer? Do I retain less because my brain has no physical setting to map it to?