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Long-Term Memory for Environmental Spaces: the Case of Orientation Specificity

MPS-Authors
http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84081

Meilinger,  T
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84170

Riecke,  BE
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84034

Laharnar,  N
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83839

Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Meilinger, T., Riecke, B., Laharnar, N., & Bülthoff, H. (2007). Long-Term Memory for Environmental Spaces: the Case of Orientation Specificity. Poster presented at 10th Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK 2007), Tübingen, Germany.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-CCED-2
Abstract
This study examined orientation specificity in human long-term memory for environmental spaces, and was designed to disambiguate between three theories concerning the organisation of memory: reference direction theory [e.g., 1], view dependent theory [e.g., 2] and a theory assuming orientation-independency [e.g., 3]. Participants learned an immersive virtual environment by walking in one direction. The environment consisted of seven corridors within which target objects were located. In the testing phase, participants were teleported to different locations in the environment and were asked to identify their location and heading and then to point towards previously learned targets. In experiment 1 eighteen participants could see the whole corridor and were able to turn their head during the testing phase, whereas in experiment 2 visibility was limited and the twenty participants were asked to not turn their heads during pointing. Reference direction theory assumes a global reference direction underlying the memory of the whole layout and would predict better performance when oriented in the global reference direction. However, no support was found for the reference direction theory. Instead, as predicted by view-dependent theories, participants pointed more accurately when oriented in the direction in which they originally learned each corridor, even when visibility was limited to one meter for all orientations (all results p<.05). When the whole corridor was visible, participants also self-localised faster when oriented in the learned direction. In direct comparison participants pointed more accurately when facing the learned direction instead of the global reference direction. With the corridors visible they also self-localised faster. No support was found for an exclusive orientation-independent memory as performance was orientation-dependent with respect to the learned orientation. We propose a ‘network of reference frames’ theory which extends the view-dependent theory by stating how locations learned from different views are connected within a spatial network. This theory is able to integrate elements of the different theoretical positions.