Spatial Frames of Reference Used in Identifying Direction of Movement: An Unexpected Turn
Despite extensive interest in the role of frames of reference in spatial representation, there is little consensus regarding the cognitive effort associated with various reference systems and the cognitive costs (if any) involved in switching from one frame of reference to another. Relevant to these issues an experiment was conducted in which accuracy and response latency data were collected in a task in which observers verified the direction of turns made by a model car in a mock city in terms of four different spatial frames of reference: fixed-observer (relative-egocentric), fixed-environmental object (intrinsic-fixed), mobile object (intrinsic-mobile), and cardinal directions (absolute-global). Results showed that frames of reference could be differentiated on the basis of response accuracy and latency. In addition, no cognitive costs were observed in terms of accuracy or latency when the frames of reference switched between fixed-observer vs. global frames of reference or between mobile object and fixed environmental object frames of reference. Instead, a distinct performance advantage was observed when frames of reference were changed. This unexpected result is attributed to a phenomenon analogous to release from proactive inhibition.
Keywordsframes of reference orientation spatial perspective spatial relations
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
- Acredolo, L. P. (1976). Frames of reference used by children for orientation in unfamiliar spaces. In G. Moore & R. Golledge (Eds.), Environmental Knowing (pp. 165–172). Stroudsburg, PA: Dowden, Hutchinson, & Ross.Google Scholar
- Acredolo, L. P. (1990). Behavioral approaches to spatial orientation in infancy. In A. Diamond (Ed.), The development and neural bases of higher cognitive function (pp. 596–607). New York: New York Academy of Sciences.Google Scholar
- Frank, A. U. (1998). Formal models for cognition-Taxonomy of spatial location description and frames of reference. In C. Freksa, C. Habel, & K. F. Wender (Eds.), Spatial cognition: An interdisciplinary approach to representing and processing spatial knowledge (pp. 293–312). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
- Franklin, N., Tversky, B., & Coon, V. (1992). Switching points of view in spatial mental models. Memory and Cognition, 20, 507–518.Google Scholar
- Klatsky, R. L. (1998). Allocentric and egocentric spatial representations: Definitions, distinctions, and interconnections. In C. Freksa, C. Habel, & K. F. Wender (Eds.), Spatial cognition: An interdisciplinary approach to representing and processing spatial knowledge (pp. 1–17). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
- Levelt, W. J. M. (1996). Perspective taking ellipsis in spatial descriptions. In P. Bloom, M. A. Peterson, L. Nadel, & M. F. Garrett (Eds.), Language and space (pp. 77–107). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Levinson, S. C. (1996). Frames of reference and Molyneux’s question: Crosslinguistic evidence. In P. Bloom, M. A. Peterson, L. Nadel, & M. F. Garrett (Eds.), Language and space (pp. 109–169). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Logan, G. D. (1996). Top-down control of reference frame alignment in direction attention from cue to target. In A. F. Kramer, M. G. H. Coles, & G. D. Logan (Eds.), Converging operations in the study of visual selective attention (pp 415-437). Washington, D. C: APA.Google Scholar
- Newcombe, N. S., & Huttenlocher, J. (2000). Making space: The development of spatial representation and reasoning. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Taylor, H. A., & Tversky, B. (1992). Descriptions and depictions of environments. Memory & Cognition, 20, 483–496.Google Scholar
- Tversky, B. (1991). Spatial mental models. In G. H. Bower (Ed.), The psychology of learning and motivation: Advances in research and theory (pp. 109–145). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar