Psychology (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Kent D. Bodily


Enclosure size has been shown to affect an animal’s reliance on featural and geometric cues when reorienting in space. Previous research has shown that humans and animals rely primarily on geometric cues in smaller enclosures, and on featural cues in larger enclosures. The multiple-bearings hypothesis predicts that directional information is more discriminable than distance information when landmarks are father away from a goal. As the size of the environment increased, the distance information was less discernible than featural information. In the current study, we tested to see if the reliance on geometry changes across enclosure size. Three different Principal Axis Difference (PAD) Ratios were used to manipulate the salience of the geometric cues across three different enclosure sizes. We predicted that if the PAD ratio was high, then participants would primarily use geometric cues to reorient themselves. The results suggest that PAD ratio manipulations affected participant’s reliance on geometric cues, and that participants consistently relied on featural cues when those were present.