June 2006
Volume 6, Issue 6
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   June 2006
Path integration precision is increased near familiar destinations
Author Affiliations
  • John W. Philbeck
    George Washington University
  • Shannon O'Leary
    George Washington University
Journal of Vision June 2006, Vol.6, 147. doi:10.1167/6.6.147
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      John W. Philbeck, Shannon O'Leary; Path integration precision is increased near familiar destinations. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):147. doi: 10.1167/6.6.147.

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Abstract

PURPOSE. For many, there is a subjective sense of certainty about one's current location when walking in familiar environments, even without vision. One consequence of this could be that self-location updating via path integration is enhanced in the vicinity of familiar locations. METHOD. To test this idea, we asked 24 observers to walk without vision to 2 previously-viewed targets, seen outdoors in an open field. All paths consisted of 3 straight segments separated by 2 turns, with the first segment being determined by the experimenter (16 trials total). Group 1 always started from the same origin, while Group 2 moved to another origin halfway through testing. In a critical manipulation, for Group 2, the ideal final segment would take them to the previous (i.e., familiar) origin. The starting locations were counterbalanced within and between groups. RESULTS. Straight-line distance errors from the final destination were similar for both groups, averaging 2.1 m for paths totaling 14.10 and 15.58 m long. There was a trend in Group 2 toward more tightly-clustered final stopping locations (within-subjects) for the (familiar) final destination (p = .057). The mean dispersions around the within-subject centroids were 1.51 m (Group 1) and 1.16 m (Group 2). CONCLUSION. Navigating via path integration may be facilitated when the destination is a familiar location. Here, the facilitation was primarily in terms of decreased variable error. More extensive familiarization may intensify this effect.

Philbeck, J. W. O'Leary, S. (2006). Path integration precision is increased near familiar destinations [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 6(6):147, 147a, http://journalofvision.org/6/6/147/, doi:10.1167/6.6.147. [CrossRef]
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