Probing for spatial cognitive processes in model rodent species has a long history in the psychological literature, with well-established protocols and paradigms successfully revealing the mechanisms underlying spatial learning and memory. There has also been much interest in examining the ecological and evolutionary context of spatial cognition, with a focus on how selection has molded spatial cognitive abilities in nonmodel species, how spatial cognitive traits vary across species, the neural mechanisms underlying spatial cognitive abilities, and the fitness outcomes of spatial cognition. Behavioral ecologists have been able to take advantage of paradigms from experimental psychology’s rich history of spatial cognitive testing for use in nonmodel species. However, as the field advances, it is important to highlight noncognitive factors that can impact performance on spatial cognitive tasks (e.g., motivation to perform the task, switching navigational strategies, variation across protocols, ecological relevance of the task), as these factors may explain discrepancies in findings among some studies. This review highlights how these noncognitive factors can differentially modulate performance on spatial cognitive tests in different nonmodel species.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Medicine