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Control of rodent and human spatial navigation by room and apparatus cues

By Derek A. Hamilton, Travis E. Johnson, Edward S. Redhead and Steven P. Verney


A growing body of literature indicates that rats prefer to navigate in the direction of a goal in the environment (directional responding) rather than to the precise location of the goal (place navigation). <br/><br/>This paper provides a brief review of this literature with an emphasis on recent findings in the Morris water task. Four experiments designed to extend this work to humans in a computerized, virtual Morris water task are also described. <br/><br/>Special emphasis is devoted to how directional responding and place navigation are influenced by room and apparatus cues, and how these cues control distinct components of navigation to a goal.<br/><br/>Experiments 1 and 2 demonstrate that humans, like rats, perform directional responses when cues from the apparatus are present, while Experiment 3 demonstrates that place navigation predominates when apparatus cues are eliminated. <br/><br/>In Experiment 4, an eyetracking system measured gaze location in the virtual environment dynamically as participants navigated from a start point to the goal.<br/>Participants primarily looked at room cues during the early segment of each trial, but primarily focused on the apparatus as the trial progressed, suggesting distinct, sequential stimulus functions. <br/><br/>Implications for computational modeling of navigation in the Morris water task and related tasks are discussed

Topics: BF
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:
Provided by: e-Prints Soton

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