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The difficulty of effectively using allocentric prior information in a spatial recall task.

Negen, J. and Bird, L.A. and King, E. and Nardini, M. (2020) 'The difficulty of effectively using allocentric prior information in a spatial recall task.', Scientific reports., 10 . p. 7000.

Abstract

Prior information represents the long-term statistical structure of an environment. For example, colds develop more often than throat cancer, making the former a more likely diagnosis for a sore throat. There is ample evidence for effective use of prior information during a variety of perceptual tasks, including the ability to recall locations using an egocentric (self-based) frame. However, it is not yet known if people can use prior information effectively when using an allocentric (world-based) frame. Forty-eight adults were shown sixty sets of three target locations in a sparse virtual environment with three beacons. The targets were drawn from one of four prior distributions. They were then asked to point to the targets after a delay and a change in perspective. While searches were biased towards the beacons, we did not find any evidence that participants successfully exploited the prior distributions of targets. These results suggest that allocentric reasoning does not conform to normative Bayesian models: we saw no evidence for use of priors in our cognitively-complex (allocentric) task, unlike in previous, simpler (egocentric) recall tasks. It is possible that this reflects the high biological cost of processing precise allocentric information.

Item Type:Article
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-62775-5
Publisher statement:This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Te images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date accepted:10 March 2020
Date deposited:05 May 2020
Date of first online publication:24 April 2020
Date first made open access:05 May 2020

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