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Transcript
Spatial Memory
& Navigation
Objectives:
1. To introduce spatial performance as a topic in
psychological science
2. To illustrate how diverse psychological perspectives
contribute to our understanding of how people and other
animals find their way around in the world
Cognitive & Learning: Psychologists are interested in
the types of cues to humans and nonhuman animals use
to navigate around their environment. Experiments can
be conducted to find out whether, for instance, they
use environmental cues (i.e., signs, building or room
features) or remember which direction (left, right)
they turned.
Neuroscience: Psychologists can study which brain
areas are activated when spatial tasks are solved. In
laboratory animals, they may record electrical signals
from neurons or measure the release of chemicals in
the brain. In humans, brain activity can be measured
through or scalp or with imaging devices. How damage
to various brain areas impairs spatial performance also
can be examined.
Clinical: Research in clinical psychology helps us to
understand, treat, and prevent disorders of spatial
memory. People with memory problems can learn
techniques (memory note books) to help them
remember where they put things and how to locate
places.
Human factors: How do we design buildings and
living or work spaces, communities that are easy to
find and navigate, given what we know about human
behavior and problem solving skills? Psychologists
are interested in questions such as these.
Related Readings
Scientific American articles:
• “Visualizing the Mind,” 1994
• “From Point A to Theta,” 1999
• “Running a Virtual Maze,” 1999
• “Building a Brainier Mouse,” 2000
• “Mind Readers,” 2003
Brain Briefs, Society for Neuroscience:
http://web.sfn.org/content/Publications/BrainBriefings/index.html
• “Brains in Space,” 2000
• “Brain Imaging,” 1996