Human Navigation in Nested Environments

Ranxiao Frances Wang, James R. Brockmole

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Navigation in humans and many other animals relies on spatial representations of their environments. Three experiments examined how humans maintain sense of orientation between nested environments. Subjects can acquire new spatial representations easily without integrating them into their existing spatial knowledge system. While navigating between nested environments, subjects seemed to constantly switch between the currently processed environment by reorienting to approaching environments and losing track of old environments at given spatial regions. These results suggest that spatial updating in naturalistic, nested environments does not occur for all environments at the same time. Implications for the hierarchical theory of spatial representations and the path integration theory of navigation are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-404
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language


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