Geometric Encoding

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Publication Date


Publication Title

Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior





Successful movement between locations first requires the determination of a direction of travel, and understanding the process of determining a direction is the central focus of orientation research. As shown in the top panel of Fig. 1, the general approach to understanding orientation involves training disoriented participants to respond to a particular location within a rectangular enclosure (left). Importantly, this location is often uniquely specified by a distinctive feature. Interestingly, tests in the absence of the distinctive features reveal that participants not only respond to the originally trained location but also to its 180° rotationally equivalent location (right). Responses to this 180° rotationally equivalent location are termed a rotational error (for a review, see Cheng et al. 2013).


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