Observation of Search Strategies Facilitates and Inhibits Subsequent Learning of Spatial Relations Among Locations
Recent comparative research has investigated the influence of social information on spatial learning (see Brown, 2011). Previous work from our lab found evidence that observational learning influenced human learning of spatial relations among locations in virtual environment search task. A group of participants watching an avatar complete a spatial pattern learning task in an optimal fashion made fewer errors and more search moves consistent with the hidden spatial pattern compared to a group of participants watching an avatar complete the spatial pattern learning task in a random fashion. In the present experiment, one group of participants watched a virtual character complete a spatial pattern learning task using an optimal search strategy (Optimal) while a second group watched a virtual character complete the spatial pattern learning task using a random search strategy (Random). A third group was not exposed to any search strategy (Control). All participants then completed the spatial pattern learning task. Results indicate a combination of facilitation of learning in the Optimal Group and an inhibition of learning in the Random Group relative to the Control Group. Collectively, these results are conceptually consistent with those obtained with rat subjects and have comparative implications for social influences on spatial behavior.
Comparative Cognition Society’s International Conference on Comparative Cognition (CCS)
Bruster, Matthew C., Kent D. Bodily, Michael F. Brown, Bradley R. Sturz.
"Observation of Search Strategies Facilitates and Inhibits Subsequent Learning of Spatial Relations Among Locations."
Psychology Faculty Presentations.