Geometric and Tactile Cue Conflict in the Absence of Visual Sense: Evidence From the Reorientation Paradigm

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Some mobile organisms must orient in the absence of vision. Previously, humans have been found to learn the geometric configuration of an environment in the absence of visual input when tested in the reorientation paradigm (Sturz et al., 2013). To further investigate the use of tactile sense during reorientation, we placed beacons and enclosure geometry in conflict in the absence of visual sense. Adult humans were trained to locate a target object located in one corner of a rectangular enclosure, each corner containing a unique textural cue and the target object associated with the same texture throughout training. During the test trial, all beacons were shifted one corner such that the location of the target object as specified by geometric cues conflicted with the target location as specified by the trained textural cue. Participants’ first searches were allocated to the location of the trained textural cue. Importantly, participants’ second searches were allocated to the geometrically equivalent corners. Collectively, results appear consistent with cue conflict results obtained during sighted orientation in that a beacon strategy dominated initial search; however, geometric information was utilized after this initial beacon strategy failed. These results have comparative implications for orientation in the absence of vision.


Comparative Cognition Society’s International Conference on Comparative Cognition (CCS)


Melbourne, FL