Clark C. Presson, N. deLange, M. Hazelrigg
May 1, 1987
Memory & Cognition
In the current study we tested whether multiple orientations in kinesthetic learning affected how flexibly spatial information is stored and later used in making location judgments. Three groups learned simple routes by walking them while blindfolded, with (1) multiple orientations achieved through normal walking, (2) multiple orientations achieved through backward walking, or (3) a single orientation achieved through walking without turning (which required forward, backward, and sideways walking). When subjects had experienced multiple orientations while learning the routes, later directional judgments were equally accurate (and equally rapid) regardless of whether the judgments were aligned or were contra-aligned with the orientation of the routes as originally learned. In contrast, when routes were learned in a single orientation (without turning), subsequent judgments on contra-aligned trials were both less accurate and slower than judgments on aligned trials. Thus, multiple orientations are important to establish orientation-free, flexible use of spatial information in a kinesthetic learning environment. This contrasts with the pattern of results typically found in visual spatial learning and suggests that the factors that affect orientation specificity of spatial use may differ across spatial modality.