Stable Self-to-Object Spatial Relations Acquired from Sequential Spatial Learning


Self-to-object spatial relations are generally considered to be transient and supported primarily by perceptual processes. The present study investigates whether people can acquire stable self-to-object spatial relations that are not disrupted by disorientation. Participants either simultaneously or sequentially viewed the object locations from a learning position amidst a geometrically irregular array. Next they were blindfolded and pointed to the objects under three conditions: before turning (baseline), after rotating 240° (updating), and after disorientation (disorientation). Finally, all participants were taken to another room to perform judgments of relative direction (JRDs) among remembered object locations. The internal consistency of pointing among objects was disrupted by disorientation following simultaneous viewing but not sequential viewing. However, participants’ memories of object-to-object relations were equivalent in the two viewing conditions. Together, these results suggest that people construct stable self-to-object spatial relations when they sequentially view each object of the irregular layout.

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