Location matters: Why target location impacts performance in orientation tasks

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

This research explores human performance in a spatial orientation task. In three experiments, participants saw a target highlighted in a visual scene and were asked to locate it on a map of the space. Across all of the experiments, the target’s location in the visual scene influenced the participants’ response times. Generally, response times increased when the target was located farther away from the viewer, when the target was farther to one side or the other, and when more distractors were nearby. However, there were important exceptions to these findings, suggesting that participants encode the location of a target hierarchically, using different features of the space depending on the target’s particular location. We conclude that participants perform such tasks by extracting a description from the egocentric view and then transforming that description to allow them to find the target on the map.




Published In

Memory & Cognition, 34, 1, 41-59.