Sensorimotor Alignment Effects in the Learning Environment and in Novel Environments
AuthorKelly, Jonathan W.
Avraamides, Marios N.
Loomis, J. M.
SourceJournal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory and Cognition
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Four experiments investigated the conditions contributing to sensorimotor alignment effects (i.e., the advantage for spatial judgments from imagined perspectives aligned with the body). Through virtual reality technology, participants learned object locations around a room (learning room) and made spatial judgments from imagined perspectives aligned or misaligned with their actual facing direction. Sensorimotor alignment effects were found when testing occurred in the learning room but not after walking 3 m into a neighboring (novel) room. Sensorimotor alignment effects returned after returning to the learning room or after providing participants with egocentric imagery instructions in the novel room. Additionally, visual and spatial similarities between the test and learning environments were independently sufficient to cause sensorimotor alignment effects. Memory alignment effects, independent from sensorimotor alignment effects, occurred in all testing conditions. Results are interpreted in the context of two-system spatial memory theories positing separate representations to account for sensorimotor and memory alignment effects. © 2007 American Psychological Association.