The effects of cue placement on the relative dominance of boundaries and landmark arrays in goal localization

The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology : QJEP
Ruojing Zhou, Weimin Mou

Abstract

Two types of visual features are identified as reference points used by individuals to encode locations: surface-based boundaries and discrete-object-based landmarks. Previous research show that learning locations relative to a boundary can overshadow learning relative to a landmark, but not vice versa, suggesting that environmental boundaries play a privileged role in representing individual locations. However, other research has revealed that a less accurate cognitive map is derived from boundary-related learning than from landmark-related learning, suggesting that a boundary is less privileged in representing inter-location spatial relations. The current study aims to reconcile these inconsistent findings. Experiment 1, using both a cue-competition paradigm and a cognitive mapping task, replicated the finding that participants preferred a circular boundary to a four-landmark array for encoding four locations (1A), but that the cognitive maps of the locations derived from the landmark array were more accurate (1B). Using the cue-competition paradigm, Experiments 2-4 manipulated the placement and distinctiveness of the two cues. The results showed that manipulating the placement of the landmark array effectively modulated the ...Continue Reading

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