No Evidence that Consistent Auditory Cues Facilitate Learning of Spatial Relations among Locations

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Behavioural Processes





Human participants searched in a dynamic three-dimensional computer-generated virtual-environment open-field search task for four hidden goal locations arranged in a diamond configuration located in a 5 × 5 matrix of raised bins. Participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: Consistent or Inconsistent. All participants experienced 30 trials in which four goal locations maintained the same spatial relations to each other (i.e., a diamond pattern), but this diamond pattern moved to random locations within the 5 × 5 matrix from trial-to-trial. For participants in the Consistent group, each goal location within the pattern always provided a unique and consistent auditory cue throughout the experimental session. For participants in the Inconsistent group, the same distinct auditory cues were provided for each goal location; however, the locations of these auditory cues within the pattern itself were randomized from trial-to-trial throughout the experimental session. Results indicated that participants in both groups learned the spatial configuration of goal locations, but the presence of consistent auditory cues did not facilitate the learning of spatial relations among locations.