Found these groups of maps about how people view European countries. It reminds me of a map in the 80s about Ragan’s view of the world. Not new but funny.
There has been quite a bit of research on people’s preference and knowledge based on proximity. For instance when you ask college students about where they want to live where they grew up is high on the list. Also Americans notoriously weak knowledge of “Geography” will show up more on distant places when filling in a blank map of US states.
There is one strange research result from Judgment and Decision Making (JDM) research that goes against local knowledge. Researchers found that students from Germany and the US did about as well on ranking the size order of urban areas with only a small amount of information in the each others country as in their own country.That means US students (yes the ones with no geography knowledge) did better than German student in determining relative city size of German cities.
Stereotypical thinking is related to this type of work, making snap divisions based on a little input and lots of pre conceived notions.