Do humans integrate routes into a cognitive map? Map- versus landmark-based navigation of novel shortcuts.

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Abstract or Description

Do humans integrate experience on specific routes into metric survey knowledge of the environment, or do they depend on a simpler strategy of landmark navigation? The authors tested this question using a novel shortcut paradigm during walking in a virtual environment. The authors find that participants could not take successful shortcuts in a desert world but could do so with dispersed landmarks in a forest. On catch trials, participants were drawn toward the displaced landmarks whether the landmarks were clustered near the target location or along the shortcut route. However, when landmarks appeared unreliable, participants fell back on coarse survey knowledge. Like honeybees (F. C. Dyer, 1991), humans do not appear to derive accurate cognitive maps from path integration to guide navigation but, instead, depend on landmarks when they are available.




Published In

Journal of experimental psychology: Learning, memory, and cognition, 31, 2, 195-215.