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

Chan E, Baumann O, Bellgrove MA, Mattingley JB - Front Psychol (2013)

Bottom Line: 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.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.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland St. Lucia, QLD, Australia ; School of Psychology, The University of Queensland St. Lucia, QLD, Australia.

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.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Schematic and local views of the virtual arena used during the learning phase. (A) Survey view of the arena showing the object array and the square mat (in blue) that provided the extrinsic frame of reference. (B) The spatial arrangement of objects in the array (white circles). Inter-object relationships are thought to be encoded preferentially with respect to coordinates aligned with the sides of the square mat (solid lines), as opposed to misaligned (dashed lines). (C) In Experiment 1B, when participants arrived at a correct location, the probed target object (e.g., a pear) appeared immediately above the placeholder. (D) When participants arrived at an incorrect location, a red cross appeared above the placeholder.
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Figure 1: Schematic and local views of the virtual arena used during the learning phase. (A) Survey view of the arena showing the object array and the square mat (in blue) that provided the extrinsic frame of reference. (B) The spatial arrangement of objects in the array (white circles). Inter-object relationships are thought to be encoded preferentially with respect to coordinates aligned with the sides of the square mat (solid lines), as opposed to misaligned (dashed lines). (C) In Experiment 1B, when participants arrived at a correct location, the probed target object (e.g., a pear) appeared immediately above the placeholder. (D) When participants arrived at an incorrect location, a red cross appeared above the placeholder.

Mentions: Evidence that object locations are organized around reference systems has been derived principally from experiments that have employed static arrays of items on a table-top or in a room. In a typical task, participants are asked to study and remember the spatial arrangement of an object array from a single viewpoint. Within the array, a prominent environmental feature (e.g., a square-shaped mat) or structure (e.g., the room geometry) is included to emphasize, perceptually, one or more spatial axes. Assessment of participants' spatial memory for object locations is probed using a so-called “Judgment of Relative Direction” (JRD) task, which requires participants to imagine themselves standing at the position of one object, facing a different object, and then to point to the location of a third object. Studies that have used this approach have typically shown that participants are faster and more accurate when performing the JRD task for imagined orientations that are aligned (i.e., parallel or orthogonal) with the perceptually salient structure, than for orientations that are misaligned (see Figures 1A,B; Shelton and McNamara, 2001; Mou and McNamara, 2002; Valiquette et al., 2003, 2007; Valiquette and McNamara, 2007). Such observations of superior performance for aligned vs. misaligned orientations are thought to reflect the fact that inter-object spatial relationships are represented in memory with respect to salient geometric features available in the environment. On this account, spatial relationships that are aligned with the adopted frame of reference are represented explicitly, thus, supporting faster and more accurate judgments of relative direction, whereas relationships that are not aligned with the frame of reference must be inferred, leading to a cost in judgments of relative direction (Shelton and McNamara, 2001).


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

Chan E, Baumann O, Bellgrove MA, Mattingley JB - Front Psychol (2013)

Schematic and local views of the virtual arena used during the learning phase. (A) Survey view of the arena showing the object array and the square mat (in blue) that provided the extrinsic frame of reference. (B) The spatial arrangement of objects in the array (white circles). Inter-object relationships are thought to be encoded preferentially with respect to coordinates aligned with the sides of the square mat (solid lines), as opposed to misaligned (dashed lines). (C) In Experiment 1B, when participants arrived at a correct location, the probed target object (e.g., a pear) appeared immediately above the placeholder. (D) When participants arrived at an incorrect location, a red cross appeared above the placeholder.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3755211&req=5

Figure 1: Schematic and local views of the virtual arena used during the learning phase. (A) Survey view of the arena showing the object array and the square mat (in blue) that provided the extrinsic frame of reference. (B) The spatial arrangement of objects in the array (white circles). Inter-object relationships are thought to be encoded preferentially with respect to coordinates aligned with the sides of the square mat (solid lines), as opposed to misaligned (dashed lines). (C) In Experiment 1B, when participants arrived at a correct location, the probed target object (e.g., a pear) appeared immediately above the placeholder. (D) When participants arrived at an incorrect location, a red cross appeared above the placeholder.
Mentions: Evidence that object locations are organized around reference systems has been derived principally from experiments that have employed static arrays of items on a table-top or in a room. In a typical task, participants are asked to study and remember the spatial arrangement of an object array from a single viewpoint. Within the array, a prominent environmental feature (e.g., a square-shaped mat) or structure (e.g., the room geometry) is included to emphasize, perceptually, one or more spatial axes. Assessment of participants' spatial memory for object locations is probed using a so-called “Judgment of Relative Direction” (JRD) task, which requires participants to imagine themselves standing at the position of one object, facing a different object, and then to point to the location of a third object. Studies that have used this approach have typically shown that participants are faster and more accurate when performing the JRD task for imagined orientations that are aligned (i.e., parallel or orthogonal) with the perceptually salient structure, than for orientations that are misaligned (see Figures 1A,B; Shelton and McNamara, 2001; Mou and McNamara, 2002; Valiquette et al., 2003, 2007; Valiquette and McNamara, 2007). Such observations of superior performance for aligned vs. misaligned orientations are thought to reflect the fact that inter-object spatial relationships are represented in memory with respect to salient geometric features available in the environment. On this account, spatial relationships that are aligned with the adopted frame of reference are represented explicitly, thus, supporting faster and more accurate judgments of relative direction, whereas relationships that are not aligned with the frame of reference must be inferred, leading to a cost in judgments of relative direction (Shelton and McNamara, 2001).

Bottom Line: 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.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.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland St. Lucia, QLD, Australia ; School of Psychology, The University of Queensland St. Lucia, QLD, Australia.

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.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus