Original Article

Psychological Research

, Volume 71, Issue 3, pp 359-372

The role of visuo-spatial working memory in map learning: new findings from a map drawing paradigm

  • Emanuele ColucciaAffiliated withLaboratorio di Psicologia Sperimentale, University Suor Orsola Benincasa (USOB) Email author 
  • , Andrea BoscoAffiliated withUniversity of Bari
  • , Maria A. BrandimonteAffiliated withLaboratorio di Psicologia Sperimentale, University Suor Orsola Benincasa (USOB)

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

Recently, increasing attention has been devoted to the study of the role of visuo-spatial working memory (VSWM) in environmental learning and spatial navigation. The present research was aimed at investigating the role of VSWM in map learning using a map drawing paradigm. In the first study, a dual task methodology was used. Results showed that map drawing was selectively impaired by a spatial tapping task that was executed during the map learning phase, hence supporting the hypothesis that VSWM plays an essential role in learning from maps. In the second study, using a correlational methodology, it was shown that performance in simultaneous VSWM tasks, but not in sequential VSWM tasks, predicted map drawing skills. These skills “in turn” correlated with map learning abilities. Finally, in the third study, we replicated the results of the second study, by using a different map. To our knowledge, the present study is the first to find evidence that the simultaneous aspects of VSWM play a fundamental role in learning from maps.