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The Neurobiology of Spatial Behaviour$
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K.J. Jeffery

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198515241

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198515241.001.0001

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Do animals use maps?

Do animals use maps?

(p.104) Chapter 6 Do animals use maps?
The Neurobiology of Spatial Behaviour

Sue Healy

Zoë Hodgson

Victoria Braithwaite

Oxford University Press

This chapter takes an ethological perspective and describes the advantages and disadvantages that having a cognitive map would confer upon an animal. It also explores a range of instances of navigation in order to arrive at an understanding of what it is that animals in the real world appear able to do. It then evaluates a number of the extant models of navigation and the evidence for and against each of them. The data shows that most of the homing pigeon data have been more helpful for understanding compass use, than the possibilities of cognitive mapping or even of landmark use. In this review of cognitive mapping, it concentrates on the two outcomes of the possession of such a map that are considered the most valuable to a navigating animal: planning and shortcutting. It is concluded that a reasonable jury must still be undecided on the question of whether map use can be ruled in or out. Complex spatial behaviour may involve a map, but equally, it may arise from the flexible and opportunistic use of other, simpler kinds of stimuli and behaviours.

Keywords:   cognitive map, animals, navigation, spatial behaviour, cognitive mapping, homing pigeon, compass

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