Updating egocentric representations in human navigation

Only 20 percent managed to break out of the illusory confinement and continue their lines in the white space surrounding the dots.

updating egocentric representations in human navigation-5updating egocentric representations in human navigation-24updating egocentric representations in human navigation-49

At the first stages, all the participants in Guilford’s original study censored their own thinking by limiting the possible solutions to those within the imaginary square (even those who eventually solved the puzzle).

Even though they weren’t instructed to restrain themselves from considering such a solution, they were unable to “see” the white space beyond the square’s boundaries.

The idea went viral (via 1970s-era media and word of mouth, of course).

Overnight, it seemed that creativity gurus everywhere were teaching managers how to think outside the box.

Indeed, the concept enjoyed such strong popularity and intuitive appeal that no one bothered to check the facts.

No one, that is, before two different research teams—Clarke Burnham with Kenneth Davis, and Joseph Alba with Robert Weisberg—ran another experiment using the same puzzle but a different research procedure.The principal evolutionary advance in animal navigation may concern the number of unseen targets whose egocentric directions and distances can be represented and updated simultaneously, rather than a qualitative shift in navigation toward reliance on an allocentric map. Although studying creativity is considered a legitimate scientific discipline nowadays, it is still a very young one. One of Guilford’s most famous studies was the nine-dot puzzle.Nevertheless, disorientation had little effect on the coherence of pointing to different room corners, suggesting both (a) that the disorientation effect on representations of object locations is not due to the experimental paradigm and (b) that room geometry is captured by an enduring representation.These findings cast doubt on the view that accurate navigation depends primarily on an enduring, observer-free cognitive map, for humans construct such a representation of extended surfaces but not of objects.If the light was present during learning and test but absent during the disorientation procedure, however, subjects showed low heading errors (indicating that they reoriented by the light) but high configuration errors (indicating that they failed to retrieve an accurate cognitive map of their surroundings).

Tags: , ,