Cognitive Processing

, Volume 16, Supplement 1, pp 323–326 | Cite as

Sex differences and errors in the use of terrain slope for navigation

  • Daniele Nardi
  • Corinne A. Holmes
  • Nora S. Newcombe
  • Steven M. Weisberg
Short Report


Unlike most of the spatial cues that have received attention, a sloping terrain can be perceived by multimodal sensory inputs (vision, balance, and kinesthesia), making it potentially very salient for navigation. Furthermore, a homogeneous slope can be used like a compass to identify directions (e.g., uphill, downhill, and sideways), but not to determine distances. We briefly review recent evidence on navigation with slope, emphasizing two main findings. On the one hand, we focus on the conspicuous sex difference found in the ability to localize a target in a square, tilted enclosure; this has emerged in human adults and children, and we suggest that it is related to lower awareness of the slope for females. On the other hand, we describe the general pattern of errors that arises when localizing the target during the task; these errors indicate the use of a bi-coordinate representation of the slope. Limitations and ideas for future studies are proposed.


Navigation Reorientation Slope Sex differences Spatial representation 


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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniele Nardi
    • 1
  • Corinne A. Holmes
    • 2
  • Nora S. Newcombe
    • 2
  • Steven M. Weisberg
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyEastern Illinois UniversityCharlestonUSA
  2. 2.Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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