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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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Comparative approaches to human navigation

Comparative approaches to human navigation

(p.119) Chapter 7 Comparative approaches to human navigation
The Neurobiology of Spatial Behaviour

Ranxiao Frances Wang

Elizabeth S. Spelke

Oxford University Press

This chapter agrees that the evidence for cognitive maps is inconclusive, and proposes that even in humans, the representation of space is more ephemeral and flexible than previously thought. It outlines research on three systems which are especially fundamental to human and animal navigation, and for which convergent studies of humans and of non-human animals have been mutually illuminating. It then describes a path integration system for computing and updating the relationship between one's current position and other significant environmental locations, a scene recognition system guiding navigation through familiar terrain, and a reorientation system for determining one's position and heading when one has become disoriented. In each of these cases, studies of animals have provided insights into the navigation systems of humans, and studies of humans, in turn, have suggested ways to resolve long-standing controversies concerning the shared navigational mechanisms. Moreover, it examines the existence of view-dependent representations in a wide variety of species from insects to humans.

Keywords:   space representation, humans, navigation, animals, path integration system, scene recognition system, reorientation system

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