An important step toward understanding the role of body-based cues on human spatial memory for large-scale environments
AffiliationUniversity of Arizona
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PublisherMIT Press Journals
CitationHuffman, D. J., & Ekstrom, A. D. (2021). An Important Step toward Understanding the Role of Body-based Cues on Human Spatial Memory for Large-Scale Environments. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 33(2), 167-179.
RightsCopyright © 2020 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.
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AbstractMoving our body through space is fundamental to human navigation; however, technical and physical limitations have hindered our ability to study the role of these body-based cues experimentally. We recently designed an experiment using novel immersive virtual-reality technology, which allowed us to tightly control the availability of body-based cues to determine how these cues influence human spatial memory [Huffman, D. J., & Ekstrom, A. D. A modality-independent network underlies the retrieval of large-scale spatial environments in the human brain. Neuron, 104, 611–622, 2019]. Our analysis of behavior and fMRI data revealed a similar pattern of results across a range of body-based cues conditions, thus suggesting that participants likely relied primarily on vision to form and retrieve abstract, holistic representations of the large-scale environments in our experiment. We ended our paper by discussing a number of caveats and future directions for research on the role of body-based cues in human spatial memory. Here, we reiterate and expand on this discussion, and we use a commentary in this issue by A. Steel, C. E. Robertson, and J. S. Taube (Current promises and limitations of combined virtual reality and functional magnetic resonance imaging research in humans: A commentary on Huffman and Ekstrom (2019). Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 2020) as a helpful discussion point regarding some of the questions that we think will be the most interesting in the coming years. We highlight the exciting possibility of taking a more naturalistic approach to study the behavior, cognition, and neuroscience of navigation. Moreover, we share the hope that researchers who study navigation in humans and nonhuman animals will syner-gize to provide more rapid advancements in our understanding of cognition and the brain. © 2020 Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Copyright © 2020 Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.