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Spatial mental representations: the influence of age on route learning from maps and navigation

Spatial mental representations: the influence of age on route learning from maps and navigation Experiencing an environment by navigating in it or reading a map (route and survey views, respectively) is a typical activity of everyday life. Previous research has demonstrated that aging coincides with a decline in spatial learning, but it is unclear whether this depends to some degree on how the learning conditions relate to the method used to assess the recall. The present study aims to shed light on this issue. Forty-six young, 43 young-old and 38 old-old adults learned outdoor environments from a map and a video, then performed sketch map and route repetition tasks. Participants were assessed on their visuo-spatial working memory (VSWM), and reported their self-assessed visuo-spatial inclinations. The results showed that young adults completed the sketch maps more accurately after learning from a map rather than a video. The same was true of the young-old participants (but not of the old-old), though their performance was not as good as the younger group’s. The learning condition had no effect on the route repetition task, however, and only age-related differences emerged, with both older groups performing less well than the young adults. After controlling for learning condition and age group, VSWM and participants’ reported propensity to explore places predicted their accuracy in both types of spatial task. The overall results, discussed in the light of spatial cognitive and aging models, show that learning condition (combined with recall tasks) and visuo-spatial factors influence spatial representations, even in aging. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Psychological Research Springer Journals

Spatial mental representations: the influence of age on route learning from maps and navigation

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 by Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature
Subject
Psychology; Psychology Research
ISSN
0340-0727
eISSN
1430-2772
DOI
10.1007/s00426-018-1033-4
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Experiencing an environment by navigating in it or reading a map (route and survey views, respectively) is a typical activity of everyday life. Previous research has demonstrated that aging coincides with a decline in spatial learning, but it is unclear whether this depends to some degree on how the learning conditions relate to the method used to assess the recall. The present study aims to shed light on this issue. Forty-six young, 43 young-old and 38 old-old adults learned outdoor environments from a map and a video, then performed sketch map and route repetition tasks. Participants were assessed on their visuo-spatial working memory (VSWM), and reported their self-assessed visuo-spatial inclinations. The results showed that young adults completed the sketch maps more accurately after learning from a map rather than a video. The same was true of the young-old participants (but not of the old-old), though their performance was not as good as the younger group’s. The learning condition had no effect on the route repetition task, however, and only age-related differences emerged, with both older groups performing less well than the young adults. After controlling for learning condition and age group, VSWM and participants’ reported propensity to explore places predicted their accuracy in both types of spatial task. The overall results, discussed in the light of spatial cognitive and aging models, show that learning condition (combined with recall tasks) and visuo-spatial factors influence spatial representations, even in aging.

Journal

Psychological ResearchSpringer Journals

Published: May 30, 2018

References