Abstract

Remembering where objects are in space is fundamental to adaptive behavior. Little is known about how intact humans combine information from intrinsic (egocentric) and extrinsic (exocentric, allocentric, or landmark-based) coordinate systems to locate objects. Using a simple location estimation paradigm, this study finds that we mostly remember position in extrinsic coordinates. Intrinsic-coordinate-based mapping of space is less precise in the presence of landmarks or extrinsic cues than in their absence. Thus, not only do extrinsic frames of reference dominate internal representations of space, they suppress intrinsic-based representations as well. We speculate that this dominance-suppression hierarchy undercuts intersystem conflicts and underlies a single, undissociated spatial map in intact humans.

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