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An Adaptive Cue Selection Model of Allocentric Spatial Reorientation

Negen, J and Bird, L and Nardini, M (2021) 'An Adaptive Cue Selection Model of Allocentric Spatial Reorientation.', Journal of experimental psychology: human perception and performance., 47 (10). pp. 1409-1429.


After becoming disoriented, an organism must use the local environment to reorient and recover vectors to important locations. A new theory, Adaptive Combination, suggests that the information from different spatial cues are combined with Bayesian efficiency during reorientation. To test this further, we modified the standard reorientation paradigm to be more amenable to Bayesian cue combination analyses while still requiring reorientation in an allocentric (world-based; not egocentric) frame. 12 adults and 20 children at 5-7 years old were asked to recall locations in a virtual environment after a disorientation. Results were not consistent with Adaptive Combination. Instead, they are consistent with the use of the most useful (nearest) single landmark in isolation. We term this Adaptive Selection. Experiment 2 suggests that adults also use the Adaptive Selection method when they are not disoriented but still required to use a local allocentric frame. This suggests that the process of recalling a location in the allocentric frame is typically guided by the single most useful landmark, rather than a Bayesian combination of landmarks. These results illustrate that there can be important limits to Bayesian theories of the cognition, particularly for complex tasks such as allocentric recall.

Item Type:Article
Full text:Publisher-imposed embargo
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Publisher statement:This article has been published under the terms of the CreativeCommons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in anymedium, provided the original author and source are credited. Copyrightfor this article is retained by the author(s). Author(s) grant(s) the AmericanPsychological Association the exclusive right to publish the article andidentify itself as the original publisher.
Date accepted:24 June 2021
Date deposited:28 June 2021
Date of first online publication:2021
Date first made open access:25 November 2021

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