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Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Spatial Memory

Human Spatial Memory is Made Up of Numerous Individual Maps

Summary: Researchers investigate how spatial memories are formed.
Source: Max Planck Institute.
Spatial memory is something we use and need in our everyday lives. Time for morning coffee? We head straight to the kitchen and know where to find the coffee machine and cups. To do this, we require a mental image of our home and its contents. If we didn’t have this information stored in our memory, we would have to search through the entire house every time we needed something. Exactly how this mental processing works is not clear. Do we use one big mental map of all of the objects we have in our home? Or do we have a bunch of small maps instead – perhaps one for each room? Tobias Meilinger and Marianne Strickrodt, cognitive scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, investigated these questions in a research study.
In their study, the Max Planck researchers tested the spatial memory of volunteers in a virtual environment using 3D glasses. They were asked to memorize an arrangement of seven virtual objects placed in either of two spaces: an open, fully overseeable space or across multiple interlinked corridors. The objects were distributed in precisely the same way in both scenarios. In order to see all of the objects, along the interlinked corridors, referred to as the environmental space, participants had to walk through the environment. In the open vista space, they could see everything at a glance./.../

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