Navigation strategy as a predictor of navigation performance


Navigation strategy is an important component of spatial navigation. In the present study, we developed an assessment of human navigation strategy using a virtual analog of an assessment of animal navigation strategy. We examined the relationship between age, sex, and navigation strategy preference on subsequent performance of the virtual Morris Water Task (vMWT). On our novel assessment of navigation strategy, individuals were highly consistent in preferring either an allocentric or egocentric strategy. There were also substantial group differences in strategy preference with older adults overwhelmingly preferring an egocentric strategy, while younger adults were evenly divided between strategies. There were no significant sex differences in navigation strategy. On subsequent vMWT testing, allocentric strategy preference was associated with more accurate probe trial performance and enhanced cognitive mapping. These results suggest that human navigation strategy can be assessed reliably and that these strategy preferences feed forward to influence performance on independent navigation tasks.

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