Three computer based experiments, testing human participants in a non-immersive virtual watermaze task, used a blocking design to assess whether two sets of geometric cues would compete in a manner described by associative models of learning. In stage 1, participants were required to discriminate between visually distinct platforms. In stage 2, additional spatial information was provided by the shape or the color of the walls of the pool. In a test trial, the platforms were removed and the spatial knowledge acquired regarding the position of the platform was assessed. Experimental groups were compared against control groups which did not receive stage 1 training. The unique color of the correct platform, in Experiment 1 and 3, disrupted learning about the colored walls but not the geometry of the pool. In Experiment 2, the correct platform was identifiable from its position within the three platform array. Learning the relative position of the correct platform within the array disrupted learning about its position relative to the geometry of the pool, but not to the colored walls. The results suggest that learning the position of a goal in relation to the geometry of the environment can be blocked but only by an alternative geometric cue
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