Term of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Kent Bodily

Committee Member 1

Bradley Sturz

Committee Member 2

Janice Steirn


Reorientation occurs when an organism enters a novel environment and utilizes cues within said environment to get its bearings. Though reorientation occurs, little is known about which cues are utilized to reorient and the mechanism underlying this reorientation process. Three competing accounts of how the reorientation process occurs were presented and discussed in terms of which cues are predicted to be utilized in reorientation: the geometric module, the associative strength model, and the adaptive-combination view. In the present experiment, human participants were trained in an immersive, 3D virtual environment trapezoid to local a goal location in the presence of either a visual, auditory, or no disambiguating cue. Then, all participants were tested using an immersive, 3D virtual environment in four testing enclosures (trapezoid control, rectangle, right parallelogram, left parallelogram). The present study’s results are cautiously interpreted as consistent with the adaptive combination account. Furthermore, regardless of stimulus modality, featural information competed with geometric information.