Malleability in the development of spatial reorientation

Alexandra D. Twyman, Nora S. Newcombe, Thomas J. Gould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


After becoming disoriented, organisms must re-establish their position in space. The core knowledge position argues that reorientation relies only on extended 3D surfaces, and that this sensitivity operates automatically and is innately present. In contrast, the adaptive combination perspective argues that reorientation is experience-expectant and malleable, and depends on both extended 3D surfaces and 2D feature cues. We test these divergent views by comparing young (Experiment 1) and mature (Experiment 2) C57BL/6 mice (Mus musculus) that have been housed in circular or rectangular environments. Malleability of feature cues was found for young mice. Malleability of incidental geometry coding was found for both age groups. The relative dependence on geometric and feature cues changed with age. Young mice weighted the feature cue more heavily than adult mice. In summary, as predicted by the adaptive combination approach, rearing environments influenced the relative use of feature and geometric cues in a reorientation task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-255
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental psychobiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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