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Dissecting the Geometric Module: A Sense Linkage for Metric and Landmark Information in Animals' Spatial Reorientation

Valeria Anna Sovrano and Giorgio Vallortigara
Psychological Science
Vol. 17, No. 7 (Jul., 2006), pp. 616-621
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40064420
Page Count: 6
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Dissecting the Geometric Module: A Sense Linkage for Metric and Landmark Information in Animals' Spatial Reorientation
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Abstract

Disoriented children can use geometric information in combination with featural information to reorient themselves in large but not in small spaces; somewhat similar effects have been found in nonhuman animals. These results call for an explanation. We trained young chicks to reorient to find food in a corner of a small or a large rectangular room with a distinctive featural cue (a blue wall)--a task similar to that used with children. Then we tested the chicks after displacement of the feature to an adjacent wall. In the large enclosure, chicks chose the corner that maintained the correct arrangement of the featural cue with respect to sense, whereas in the small enclosure, they chose the corner that maintained the correct metrical arrangement of the walls with respect to sense. On the basis of these findings, we propose a simple model that can explain the effects of room size on spatial reorientation.

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