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      Spatial decision dynamics during wayfinding: intersections prompt the decision-making process


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          Intersections are critical decision points for wayfinders, but it is unknown how decision dynamics unfold during pedestrian wayfinding. Some research implies that pedestrians leverage available visual cues to actively compare options while in an intersection, whereas other research suggests that people strive to make decisions long before overt responses are required. Two experiments examined these possibilities while participants navigated virtual desktop environments, assessing information-seeking behavior (Experiment 1) and movement dynamics (Experiment 2) while approaching intersections. In Experiment 1, we found that participants requested navigation guidance while in path segments approaching an intersection and the guidance facilitated choice behavior. In Experiment 2, we found that participants tended to orient themselves toward an upcoming turn direction before entering an intersection, particularly as they became more familiar with the environment. Some of these patterns were modulated by individual differences in spatial ability, sense of direction, spatial strategies, and gender. Together, we provide novel evidence that deciding whether to continue straight or turn involves a dynamic, distributed decision-making process that is prompted by upcoming intersections and modulated by individual differences and environmental experience. We discuss implications of these results for spatial decision-making theory and the development of innovative adaptive, beacon-based navigation guidance systems.

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          Cortisol levels during human aging predict hippocampal atrophy and memory deficits.

          Elevated glucocorticoid levels produce hippocampal dysfunction and correlate with individual deficits in spatial learning in aged rats. Previously we related persistent cortisol increases to memory impairments in elderly humans studied over five years. Here we demonstrate that aged humans with significant prolonged cortisol elevations showed reduced hippocampal volume and deficits in hippocampus-dependent memory tasks compared to normal-cortisol controls. Moreover, the degree of hippocampal atrophy correlated strongly with both the degree of cortisol elevation over time and current basal cortisol levels. Therefore, basal cortisol elevation may cause hippocampal damage and impair hippocampus-dependent learning and memory in humans.
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            The effects of video game playing on attention, memory, and executive control.

            Expert video game players often outperform non-players on measures of basic attention and performance. Such differences might result from exposure to video games or they might reflect other group differences between those people who do or do not play video games. Recent research has suggested a causal relationship between playing action video games and improvements in a variety of visual and attentional skills (e.g., [Green, C. S., & Bavelier, D. (2003). Action video game modifies visual selective attention. Nature, 423, 534-537]). The current research sought to replicate and extend these results by examining both expert/non-gamer differences and the effects of video game playing on tasks tapping a wider range of cognitive abilities, including attention, memory, and executive control. Non-gamers played 20+ h of an action video game, a puzzle game, or a real-time strategy game. Expert gamers and non-gamers differed on a number of basic cognitive skills: experts could track objects moving at greater speeds, better detected changes to objects stored in visual short-term memory, switched more quickly from one task to another, and mentally rotated objects more efficiently. Strikingly, extensive video game practice did not substantially enhance performance for non-gamers on most cognitive tasks, although they did improve somewhat in mental rotation performance. Our results suggest that at least some differences between video game experts and non-gamers in basic cognitive performance result either from far more extensive video game experience or from pre-existing group differences in abilities that result in a self-selection effect.
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              Spatial memory: how egocentric and allocentric combine.

              Recent experiments indicate the need for revision of a model of spatial memory consisting of viewpoint-specific representations, egocentric spatial updating and a geometric module for reorientation. Instead, it appears that both egocentric and allocentric representations exist in parallel, and combine to support behavior according to the task. Current research indicates complementary roles for these representations, with increasing dependence on allocentric representations with the amount of movement between presentation and retrieval, the number of objects remembered, and the size, familiarity and intrinsic structure of the environment. Identifying the neuronal mechanisms and functional roles of each type of representation, and of their interactions, promises to provide a framework for investigation of the organization of human memory more generally.

                Author and article information

                617-306-6262 , tbruny01@tufts.edu
                Cogn Res Princ Implic
                Cogn Res Princ Implic
                Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications
                Springer International Publishing (Cham )
                2 May 2018
                2 May 2018
                December 2018
                : 3
                : 13
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 7531, GRID grid.429997.8, Center for Applied Brain & Cognitive Sciences, , Tufts University, ; 200 Boston Ave., Suite 3000, Medford, MA 02155 USA
                [2 ]GRID grid.487082.1, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development, and Engineering Center, RDNS-SEW-THC, ; 15 General Greene Ave, Natick, MA USA
                [3 ]ISNI 0000 0004 1936 7531, GRID grid.429997.8, Department of Psychology, , Tufts University, ; 490 Boston Ave., Medford, MA USA
                Author information
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

                : 30 December 2017
                : 20 March 2018
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100010194, Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center;
                Award ID: W911-QY-13-C-0012
                Award Recipient :
                Original Article
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                © The Author(s) 2018

                navigation,decision-making,wayfinding,spatial cognition
                navigation, decision-making, wayfinding, spatial cognition


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