Reference Frames Influence Spatial Memory Development within and Across Sensory Modalities

  • Jonathan W. Kelly
  • Marios N. Avraamides
  • Timothy P. McNamara
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6222)


Research on spatial memory indicates that locations are remembered relative to reference frames, which define a spatial reference system. Reference frames are thought to be selected on the basis of environment-based and experience-based cues present during learning. Results from new experiments indicate that reference frames provide scaffolding during the development of spatial memories: the reference frame used to organize locations studied from one perspective was also used to organize new locations studied from another perspective. Further results indicate that the role of reference frames during spatial memory development can cross sensory modalities. Reference frames that organized memories of a visually-experienced environment also organized memories of haptically-experienced locations studied within the same environment. These findings indicate a role for reference frames during spatial memory development, and demonstrate that reference frames influence cross-modal spatial learning.


Reference frames Spatial memory development Perspective taking Multi-modal learning 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan W. Kelly
    • 1
  • Marios N. Avraamides
    • 2
  • Timothy P. McNamara
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIowa State UniversityAmes
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CyprusNicosiaCyprus
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyVanderbilt UniversityNashville

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