Reference frames in allocentric representations are invariant across static and active encoding

Chan, Edgar, Baumann, Oliver, Bellgrove, Mark A. and Mattingley, Jason B. (2013) Reference frames in allocentric representations are invariant across static and active encoding. Frontiers in Psychology, 4 565: 1-7. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00565

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Author Chan, Edgar
Baumann, Oliver
Bellgrove, Mark A.
Mattingley, Jason B.
Title Reference frames in allocentric representations are invariant across static and active encoding
Journal name Frontiers in Psychology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1664-1078
Publication date 2013-08-28
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.3389/fpsyg.2013.00565
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 4
Issue 565
Start page 1
End page 7
Total pages 7
Place of publication Lausanne, Switzerland
Publisher Frontiers Research Foundation
Language eng
Abstract An influential model of spatial memory the so-called reference systems account proposes that relationships between objects are biased by salient axes ("frames of reference") provided by environmental cues, such as the geometry of a room. In this study, we sought to examine the extent to which a salient environmental feature influences the formation of spatial memories when learning occurs via a single, static viewpoint and via active navigation, where information has to be integrated across multiple viewpoints. In our study, participants learned the spatial layout of an object array that was arranged with respect to a prominent environmental feature within a virtual arena. Location memory was tested using judgments of relative direction. Experiment 1A employed a design similar to previous studies whereby learning of object-location information occurred from a single, static viewpoint. Consistent with previous studies, spatial judgments were significantly more accurate when made from an orientation that was aligned, as opposed to misaligned, with the salient environmental feature. In Experiment 1B, a fresh group of participants learned the same object-location information through active exploration, which required integration of spatial information over time from a ground-level perspective. As in Experiment 1A, object-location information was organized around the salient environmental cue. Taken together, the findings suggest that the learning condition (static vs. active) does not affect the reference system employed to encode object-location information. Spatial reference systems appear to be a ubiquitous property of spatial representations, and might serve to reduce the cognitive demands of spatial processing.
Formatted abstract
An influential model of spatial memory—the so-called reference systems account—proposes that relationships between objects are biased by salient axes (“frames of reference”) provided by environmental cues, such as the geometry of a room. In this study, we sought to examine the extent to which a salient environmental feature influences the formation of spatial memories when learning occurs via a single, static viewpoint and via active navigation, where information has to be integrated across multiple viewpoints. In our study, participants learned the spatial layout of an object array that was arranged with respect to a prominent environmental feature within a virtual arena. Location memory was tested using judgments of relative direction. Experiment 1A employed a design similar to previous studies whereby learning of object-location information occurred from a single, static viewpoint. Consistent with previous studies, spatial judgments were significantly more accurate when made from an orientation that was aligned, as opposed to misaligned, with the salient environmental feature. In Experiment 1B, a fresh group of participants learned the same object-location information through active exploration, which required integration of spatial information over time from a ground-level perspective. As in Experiment 1A, object-location information was organized around the salient environmental cue. Taken together, the findings suggest that the learning condition (static vs. active) does not affect the reference system employed to encode object-location information. Spatial reference systems appear to be a ubiquitous property of spatial representations, and might serve to reduce the cognitive demands of spatial processing.
Keyword Spatial cognition
Reference frames
Object-location memory
Navigation
Allocentric
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes This Document is Protected by copyright and was first published by Frontiers. All rights reserved. It is reproduced with permission.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2014 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
 
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 3 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 02 Oct 2013, 22:04:49 EST by Debra McMurtrie on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute