Recent work found high mutual information between the learned representations
of large language models (LLMs) and the geospatial property of its input,
hinting an emergent internal model of space. However, whether this internal
space model has any causal effects on the LLMs’ behaviors was not answered by
that work, led to criticism of these findings as mere statistical correlation.
Our study focused on uncovering the causality of the spatial representations in
LLMs. In particular, we discovered the potential spatial representations in
DeBERTa, GPT-Neo using representational similarity analysis and linear and
non-linear probing. Our casual intervention experiments showed that the spatial
representations influenced the model’s performance on next word prediction and
a downstream task that relies on geospatial information. Our experiments
suggested that the LLMs learn and use an internal model of space in solving
geospatial related tasks.

Main Themes:

The main themes of this article are:

  1. The existence of an internal model of space in large language models (LLMs).
  2. Exploring the causality of spatial representations in LLMs.
  3. Uncovering the impact of spatial representations on LLMs’ behaviors and performance.
  4. The learning and utilization of spatial representations in geospatial related tasks by LLMs.


  • Further research: Encourage further research to continue exploring the presence and potential of internal models of space in LLMs. This can help uncover more insights into the mechanisms and utilization of spatial representations, potentially leading to new breakthroughs.
  • Integration of spatial representation analysis: Incorporate representational similarity analysis and probing methods into the standard evaluation framework for LLMs. This will provide a deeper understanding of the models’ capabilities, allowing for better assessment and comparison of different models.
  • Application in geospatial tasks: Explore the practical applications of LLMs’ internal model of space in solving geospatial related tasks. This can lead to the development of more effective natural language processing tools for tasks such as geolocation, location-based recommendation systems, and spatial reasoning.
  • Interdisciplinary collaboration: Encourage collaboration between researchers from fields such as linguistics, computer science, cognitive science, and geography to fully explore the potential of internal space models in LLMs. This interdisciplinary approach can bring together diverse perspectives and expertise, leading to innovative solutions and advancements.
  • Ethical considerations: As LLMs become more advanced in understanding and utilizing spatial representations, it is essential to consider ethical implications, such as privacy concerns and biases. Foster discussions and guidelines on responsible and ethical use of LLMs’ internal spatial models to ensure their beneficial application.


The study highlighted the existence of an internal model of space in LLMs and its causal impact on the models’ behaviors and performance. The recommendations focus on further research, integration of spatial representation analysis, practical applications, interdisciplinary collaboration, and ethical considerations. Implementing these recommendations can foster innovation and strategic foresight in the field, advancing the understanding and utilization of LLMs’ internal spatial models.

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