Alignment Effects and Allocentric-Headings within a Relative Heading Task
Human navigational abilities likely depend on the accuracy of coding one’s location and facing direction, either real or imagined. The ability to compare one’s current facing direction to a photograph’s facing direction was assessed using the Allocentric-Heading Recall task (Sholl et al., 2006). The angular difference between the facing directions (or allocentric-headings) produced an alignment effect, such that trials were easiest when the facing directions were aligned but hardest when contra-aligned. In the present study, a Relative Heading task was used to determine if the original alignment effect was due to the comparison of allocentric-headings or was due to interference from sensorimotor cues. To accomplish this, participants compared text or photographed headings and responded with a directional button-press. Failure to replicate the alignment effect suggested that inference from sensorimotor cues contributed to the original effect. Thus, directional comparisons are impacted by an individual’s location and heading within an environment.
KeywordsSpatial cognition alignment effect allocentric-heading
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