Role of path memory and intelligent search in spatial localization
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Often when navigating through a familiar environment, one can become disoriented or lost. We are interested in the process by which one becomes re-oriented. The current thesis investigates two possible strategies: backtracking versus intelligent search. The backtracking strategy states that people choose one of a set of locations in the environment that they could be in and navigate accordingly. Upon receiving an inconsistent observation, they backtrack through their memory of their previous actions and observations and choose another location. This continues until the correct location is chosen. The intelligent search strategy states that people search the environment for one of a small number of memorized observations. We found that without landmarks, people have poor path and view memory, but seem to behave according to an intelligent search. With landmarks, people's memory for the actions and observations is much better, and the data suggest that participants might be using both strategies.