Volume 2: pp. 111-124

Spatial Navigation: Spatial Learning in Real and Virtual Environments

by Debbie M. Kelly,
University of Saskatchewan

Brett M. Gibson,
University of New Hampshire

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Traditionally investigations of human and nonhuman place learning have used very different approaches to understand the underlying mechanisms involved in spatial learning. Although these approaches and associated techniques have provided each respective research area with valuable information about spatial processing, one important problem has been the minimal communication between the two disciplines which share such a common interest. Our review examines the two main theories of place learning—the associative approach and the cognitive mapping theory—through the examination of current research using three main behavioral techniques that were developed for the study of spatial navigation in animals but modified for the study of human spatial navigation. Although the focus of our review is at a behavioral level, we consider how these approaches have strengthened our understanding of the neurological mechanisms of place learning in animals and discuss how future research, comparative in nature, will allow for an excellent opportunity for future comparative studies of spatial place learning.

Kelly, D. M., & Gibson, B. M. (2007). Spatial Navigation: Spatial Learning in Real and Virtual Environments. Comparative Cognition & Behavior Reviews, 2, 111-124. Retrieved from http://comparative-cognition-and-behavior-reviews.org/ doi:10.3819/ccbr.2008.20007