The development of path integration: combining estimations of distance and heading

Smith, A.D., McKeith, L. and Howard, C.J. ORCID: 0000-0002-8755-1109, 2013. The development of path integration: combining estimations of distance and heading. Experimental Brain Research, 231 (4), pp. 445-455. ISSN 0014-4819

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Efficient daily navigation is underpinned by path integration, the mechanism by which we use self-movement information to update our position in space. This process is well-understood in adulthood, but there has been relatively little study of path integration in childhood, leading to an underrepresentation in accounts of navigational development. Previous research has shown that calculation of distance and heading both tend to be less accurate in children as they are in adults, although there have been no studies of the combined calculation of distance and heading that typifies naturalistic path integration. In the present study 5-year-olds and 7-year-olds took part in a triangle-completion task, where they were required to return to the startpoint of a multi-element path using only idiothetic information. Performance was compared to a sample of adult participants, who were found to be more accurate than children on measures of landing error, heading error, and distance error. 7-year-olds were significantly more accurate than 5-year-olds on measures of landing error and heading error, although the difference between groups was much smaller for distance error. All measures were reliably correlated with age, demonstrating a clear development of path integration abilities within the age range tested. Taken together, these data make a strong case for the inclusion of path integration within developmental models of spatial navigational processing.

Item Type: Journal article
Alternative Title: Development of path integration [short title and running head]
Publication Title: Experimental Brain Research
Creators: Smith, A.D., McKeith, L. and Howard, C.J.
Publisher: Springer
Date: 2013
Volume: 231
Number: 4
ISSN: 0014-4819
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: EPrints Services
Date Added: 09 Oct 2015 10:57
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2017 13:45

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