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Xiaoang Wan, Ranxiao Frances Wang, James A. Crowell; The effect of active selection in human path integration. Journal of Vision 2010;10(11):25. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/10.11.25.
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Path integration refers to the ability to integrate self-motion information to estimate one's current position and orientation relative to the origin. To investigate the effect of active selection in path integration, we used a virtual homing task in which participants traveled along hallways and attempted to directly return to the origin. Two groups of participants differed in the voluntary selection of the path structure, but received the same perceptual and motor information. Information about distance traveled was purely visual via optic flow, whereas turnings were specified both visually and through body senses. The active group made free (Experiment 1) or forced (Experiment 2) selections to determine the structure of the outbound path, whereas the passive group followed these outbound paths. We found no facilitation effects of the active selection on homing performance, suggesting that humans' limited path integration abilities cannot be attributed to the nature of the task.
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