In everyday life, people accomplish tasks that require the storage and access of mental representations of many familiar locations. Humans store this environmental knowledge in a series of representations in memory. According to the hierarchical network model, the representation of an environment is composed of a number of distinct units that encode information at different levels of detail. This chapter discusses recent studies on how humans attend to and process multiple environmental representations to reason and act within the spatial world. These studies suggest that people access one environment at a time, and they automatically update their relationship to their immediate environment, but not to remote environments. Navigation across environments involves reorienting to upcoming environments at certain spatial regions and dropping the old environment from the processing. This selective processing sheds light on the nature and structure of human environmental representations.
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