Dynamic category structure in spatial memory



Publication Details

Sargent, J., Dopkins, S. & Philbeck, J. (2011). Dynamic category structure in spatial memory. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 18 (6), 1105-1112.


This study examines bias (constant error) in spatial memory in an effort to determine whether this bias is defined by a dynamic egocentric reference frame that moves with the observer or by an environmentally fixed reference frame. Participants learned the locations of six target objects around them in a room, were blindfolded, and then rotated themselves to face particular response headings. From each response heading, participants used a pointer to indicate the remembered azimuthal locations of the objects. Analyses of the angular pointing errors showed a previously observed pattern of bias. More importantly, it appeared that this pattern of bias was defined relative to and moved with the observer-that is, was egocentric and dynamic. These results were interpreted in the framework of a modified category adjustment model as suggesting the existence of dynamic categorical (nonmetric) spatial codes.

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