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Spatial integration of boundaries in a 3D virtual environment.

  • Author(s): Bouchekioua, Youcef
  • Miller, Holly C
  • Craddock, Paul
  • Blaisdell, Aaron P
  • Molet, Mikael
  • et al.

Prior research, using two- and three-dimensional environments, has found that when both human and nonhuman animals independently acquire two associations between landmarks with a common landmark (e.g., LM1-LM2 and LM2-LM3), each with its own spatial relationship, they behave as if the two unique LMs have a known spatial relationship despite their never having been paired. Seemingly, they have integrated the two associations to create a third association with its own spatial relationship (LM1-LM3). Using sensory preconditioning (Experiment 1) and second-order conditioning (Experiment 2) procedures, we found that human participants integrated information about the boundaries of pathways to locate a goal within a three-dimensional virtual environment in the absence of any relevant landmarks. Spatial integration depended on the participant experiencing a common boundary feature with which to link the pathways. These results suggest that the principles of associative learning also apply to the boundaries of an environment.

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