This study investigated how spatial updating strategies affected the selection of reference frames in path integration. Participants walked an outbound path consisting of three successive waypoints in a featureless environment and then pointed to the first waypoint. We manipulated the alignment of participants’ final heading at the end of the outbound path with their initial heading to examine the adopted reference frame. We assumed that the initial heading defined the principal reference direction in an allocentric reference frame. In Experiment 1, participants were instructed to use a configural updating strategy and to monitor the shape of the outbound path while they walked it. Pointing performance was best when the final heading was aligned with the initial heading, indicating the use of an allocentric reference frame. In Experiment 2, participants were instructed to use a continuous updating strategy and to keep track of the location of the first waypoint while walking the outbound path. Pointing performance was equivalent regardless of the alignment between the final and the initial headings, indicating the use of an egocentric reference frame. These results confirmed that people could employ different spatial updating strategies in path integration (Wiener, Berthoz, & Wolbers Experimental Brain Research 208(1) 61–71, 2011), and suggested that these strategies could affect the selection of the reference frame for path integration.
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review – Springer Journals
Published: May 11, 2017
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