What Determines Spatial Strategy Choice In Human Spatial Learning In A Computer-Analog Of The Morris Water Maze?

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/195982
Title:
What Determines Spatial Strategy Choice In Human Spatial Learning In A Computer-Analog Of The Morris Water Maze?
Author:
Hardt, Oliver
Issue Date:
2005
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
Cognitive Map Theory (O’Keefe & Nadel, 1978) posits that spatial behavior can reflect locale or taxon strategies. Only locale strategies depend on cognitive maps, and learning recruited by these strategies is unlike associative learning (e.g., Rescorla & Wagner, 1972; Mackintosh, 1975), which is prevalent in the taxon system. Associative learning phenomena like the blocking effect (Kamin, 1969) should therefore not occur during acquisition of cognitive maps. Contrary to this prediction, blocking effects have been demonstrated in spatial learning (e.g., Biegler & Morris, 1999; Chamizo, Sterio, & Mackintosh, 1985; Hamilton & Sutherland, 1999), and have been generally interpreted as evidence against cognitive map theory. Here we provide evidence suggesting that taxon and not locale strategies were promoted in these experiments, and we ask which factors determine whether taxon or locale strategies control spatial behavior in a computer-implementation of a widely used spatial task (Morris Water Maze; Morris, 1981). We isolated two factors relevant for spatial strategy choice in human spatial learning that are both related to the individual’s preexisting knowledge, namely conceptual knowledge about the distal cues, and knowledge about the task affordances. The blocking effect was used as an index for locale or taxon learning. We found that taxon strategies were more likely for abstract distal cues, while concrete cues promoted locale strategies – blocking was present for the former, but not the latter. When subjects were aware that the distal cues predicted locations, locale, and not taxon strategies were recruited, such that blocking was not observed. Spatial strategy choice appears to be largely driven by interindividual differences, and can therefore not be easily predicted a priori. Our findings cannot be explained by associative learning theories, but provide strong support for cognitive map theory and the position that multiple behavioral systems exist in the brain.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
spatial learning; cognitive map theory; morris-water maze; spatial strategy; virtual environment
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Psychology; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Nadel, Lynn

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleWhat Determines Spatial Strategy Choice In Human Spatial Learning In A Computer-Analog Of The Morris Water Maze?en_US
dc.creatorHardt, Oliveren_US
dc.contributor.authorHardt, Oliveren_US
dc.date.issued2005en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractCognitive Map Theory (O’Keefe & Nadel, 1978) posits that spatial behavior can reflect locale or taxon strategies. Only locale strategies depend on cognitive maps, and learning recruited by these strategies is unlike associative learning (e.g., Rescorla & Wagner, 1972; Mackintosh, 1975), which is prevalent in the taxon system. Associative learning phenomena like the blocking effect (Kamin, 1969) should therefore not occur during acquisition of cognitive maps. Contrary to this prediction, blocking effects have been demonstrated in spatial learning (e.g., Biegler & Morris, 1999; Chamizo, Sterio, & Mackintosh, 1985; Hamilton & Sutherland, 1999), and have been generally interpreted as evidence against cognitive map theory. Here we provide evidence suggesting that taxon and not locale strategies were promoted in these experiments, and we ask which factors determine whether taxon or locale strategies control spatial behavior in a computer-implementation of a widely used spatial task (Morris Water Maze; Morris, 1981). We isolated two factors relevant for spatial strategy choice in human spatial learning that are both related to the individual’s preexisting knowledge, namely conceptual knowledge about the distal cues, and knowledge about the task affordances. The blocking effect was used as an index for locale or taxon learning. We found that taxon strategies were more likely for abstract distal cues, while concrete cues promoted locale strategies – blocking was present for the former, but not the latter. When subjects were aware that the distal cues predicted locations, locale, and not taxon strategies were recruited, such that blocking was not observed. Spatial strategy choice appears to be largely driven by interindividual differences, and can therefore not be easily predicted a priori. Our findings cannot be explained by associative learning theories, but provide strong support for cognitive map theory and the position that multiple behavioral systems exist in the brain.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectspatial learningen_US
dc.subjectcognitive map theoryen_US
dc.subjectmorris-water mazeen_US
dc.subjectspatial strategyen_US
dc.subjectvirtual environmenten_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePsychologyen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairNadel, Lynnen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGlisky, Elizabeth L.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberJacobs, W. Jakeen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKaszniak, Alfred W.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberRyan, Leeen_US
dc.identifier.proquest1065en_US
dc.identifier.oclc137353782en_US
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