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Nicholas A. Giudice, Jack M. Loomis; Orientation specificity with vision and touch: Map learning, haptic updating, and functional equivalence. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):178. doi: 10.1167/6.6.178.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
When people visually inspect a map, the map's orientation at learning is known to be privileged in memory (Orientation Specificity). That is, judgments aligned with the map are reliably more accurate than those which are mis-aligned (Alignment Effect). The present studies use an alignment paradigm with visual and haptic map learning to investigate haptic-updating and the development of functionally equivalent spatial representations. In three experiments, subjects learned four-point routes either by seeing or feeling the maps. After map training, Ss were blindfolded and asked to imagine that they were standing at a point along the route and then to turn to face another point. Half of the judgments were aligned with their learning orientation and half were mis-aligned. Results revealed a highly similar pattern of reaction times and absolute angular errors between visual and haptic conditions across all experiments. Experiment 1 replicated the traditional alignment effect with vision and extended the phenomenon to haptic map learning. In Experiment 2, Ss turned in place with and without the map and Experiment 3 had them rotate the map or rotate around the map before making their judgments. Conditions where Ss rotated without the map or rotated around the map showed significant improvement for mis-aligned judgments, indicating that updating after physical movement can modify the preferred learning orientation in memory for both modalities. We conclude from these experiments that visual encoding and haptic encoding lead to functionally equivalent spatial representations and that haptic-updating yields a similar perceptual bias as visual-updating.
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