Of Mice (Mus musculus) and Toddlers (Homo sapiens): Evidence for Species-General Spatial Reorientation

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


There is ongoing debate in spatial cognition about the mechanisms by which organisms are able to reorient, or reestablish a position, in the world after losing their bearing. The traditional view is that there is an encapsulated reorientation module that can only process environmental geometry such as distances or angles (Cheng, 1986). Recently, this view has been challenged on the grounds that the reorientation mechanism is only able to accept geometric information and may instead depend on a more general ability to use relative cues. J. Huttenlocher and S.F. Lourenco (2007) demonstrated that toddlers are successfully able to reorient with continuous cues but show remarkable deficits using categorical cues that are similar in perceptual complexity for reorientation. Here, the authors show the same pattern of results with mice (Mus musculus). These findings provide evidence that there is a homologous reorientation mechanism between mice and humans. Thus, future researchers can examine the genetic basis of this important cognitive ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)342-345
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Comparative Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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