Spatial Memory and Foraging: How Perfect Spatial Memory Improves Foraging Performance


Foraging is a search process common to all mobile organisms. Spatial memory can improve foraging efficacy, and evidence indicates that many species actively utilize spatial memory to aid in their foraging, yet most current models of foraging do not include spatial memory. In this study, an online game was used to replicate and extend findings from a recent study to investigate the role of spatial memory in foraging. The game involved searching a 2d space to find as many resources as possible. Spatial information was displayed that provided complete information about search history in order test how “perfect” spatial memory improves search performance. Over 1000 participants were recruited to participate using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which allowed this test to be performed across a wide range of different resource distributions. Results replicated the findings of earlier studies, and demonstrated that spatial memory can have a dramatic effect on search performance.

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