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Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 87, Issue 11, pp 494–498 | Cite as

A brief view of known landmarks reorientates path integration in hamsters

  • A. S. Etienne
  • V. Boulens
  • R. Maurer
  • T. Rowe
  • C. Siegrist
SHORT COMMUNICATION

Abstract

 In darkness, hamsters commute between their nest and a feeding site through path integration only, and therefore show cumulative errors in the return direction to the nest. We examined whether a brief presentation of familiar room cues could reset the path integrator. The hamsters could see the room cues either during, or at the end of, the outward journey to the food place, in a conflict situation where motion cues and visual information were set at variance. In both conditions, the animals used mainly visual information to return home. Thus, hamsters can determine their azimuth, and possibly their location, through a visual fix, and can reset their path integrator through the fix. This allows them to update their position during further locomotion in the dark and thus to compute a correct homing vector with respect to a visually induced reference frame. Taking episodic positional fixes may greatly enhance the functional value of path integration.

Keywords

Azimuth Reference Frame Visual Information Path Integration Conflict Situation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. S. Etienne
    • 1
  • V. Boulens
    • 1
  • R. Maurer
    • 1
  • T. Rowe
    • 1
  • C. Siegrist
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Ethology, University of Geneva, 54 route des Acacias, 1227 Geneva, Switzerland e-mail: ariane.etienne@pse.unige.chCH

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