Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Economists, demographers, politicians, recreationalists, and others have divided the state of Minnesota into many different regions. In so doing, each claim to represent a meaningful division of state districts based upon their own particular viewpoint, need, or bias. Whether these regions are logically derived or merely delineated for purposes of convenience can, however, be questioned. Regardless of how the divisions carne about, they do, to a degree, represent an abstraction of space. Whether or not the average Minnesotan agrees with, or can even relate to, such abstractions is debatable. The way in which residents perceive the state and mentally delineate subdivisions, or perceptual regions thereof, is of paramount importance. This study represents an attempt to identify and map these perceptual regions of Minnesota as identified by state residents. Perceptual studies of regions on various levels have been conducted by numerous researchers. The number and scope of such studies reveals their popularity. Inherent in such studies are some basic, though often debated, assumptions. The first such assumption is suggested by Arthur Robinson and Barbara Petchenik who note that, "All functioning human beings show evidence of possessing spatial concepts and abilities." The second assumption germane to this study states that a strong relationship exists between perceived or discerned images and actual behavior. Humans respond to their milieu as they perceive, interpret, and categorize it through their own experience and knowledge. They also are decision makers and base their decisions upon personal images (perceptions) of the real world. These perceptions result in the occurrence of spatial behavior, defined as being "any form of human behavior that involves or exhibits an interaction between the individual [or group] and one or more points in space."

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Geographical perception
Regionalism -- minnesota
Minnesota -- Maps, Mental
South Dakota State University Theses



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University