The Roles of Surface Features and Beacons on the Use of Local and Global Geometric Cues for Reorientation

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We trained eight groups of participants to respond to a location in a trapezoidshaped enclosure uniquely specified by both local and global geometric cues. To explore the role of beacons on geometric cues use, half were trained in the presence of uniquely colored beacons whereas the other half were trained in their absence. To explore the role of surface features, we recolored the walls at the correct location and/or added a line on the floor corresponding to the principal axis. All groups were tested in the absence of unique beacons, recolored walls, and added line in novel-shaped enclosures. Testing assessed the use of global geometry in isolation, in alignment with local geometry, or in conflict with local geometry. Participants utilized both local and global geometric cues for reorientation, but beacons and surface features differentially influenced reliance on these geometric cues. Implications for existing theoretical accounts of geometry learning are discussed


Psychonomic Society Annual Meeting


Minneapolis, MN