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Spatial Frames of Reference Used in Identifying Direction of Movement: An Unexpected Turn

  • Christy R. Miller
  • Gary L. Allen
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2205)

Abstract

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.

Keywords

frames of reference orientation spatial perspective spatial relations 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christy R. Miller
    • 1
  • Gary L. Allen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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