U.W. Bangor - School of Informatics - Mathematics Preprints 2001
Biological and medical statistics
GARRAD-COLE, F., LEW, A.R., BREMNER, J.G. & WHITAKER, C.J.
Use of cue configuration geometry for spatial orientation in human infants
Research with both rats and human infants has found that after
inertial disorientation, the geometry of the environment is used
in preference over distintive featural information
during goal localization.
These findings have been extended to the geometry of cue configurations
in rats, but such studies have yet to be done with human infants.
Infants (18-24 months) are presented with one of two conditions.
In the Identical
condition, 4 identical hiding boxes in a rectangular
formation are set within a circular enclosure.
In the Distinctive
condition, 4 distinctive hiding boxes
in a rectangular formation are used.
Each infant is presented with four trials in which the parent hides a toy
in one of the boxes, turns the child slowly round several times with the
infants's eyes covered, and then allows the child to find the toy.
Infants searched the goal box and its rotational equivalent
significantly more than would be expected by chance in the
showing that they were sensitive to the geometric configuration
of the array of boxes.
Unlike the results of studies using a rectangular enclosure however,
in the Distinctive condition, infants searched significantly more
often at the correct location, and errors were no greater at the
rotationally equivalent box than would be expected by chance.
These results are considered within the information-precessing
heirarchy framework of Cressant et al. (1999) whereby the geometry
of an enclosed environment is retained most easily by mammals,
followed by cue configuration and features set at the periphery of space,
finally followed by the geometry and features of centrally placed cues.
J. of Comparative Psychology
115 (2001) 317-320.