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Disoriented 4-year-old children use a distinctive container to locate a hidden object, but do they reorient by this information? We addressed this question by testing children's search for objects in a circular room containing one distinctive and two identical containers. Children's search patterns provided evidence that the distinctive container served as(More)
Although disoriented young children reorient themselves in relation to the shape of the surrounding surface layout, cognitive accounts of this ability vary. The present paper tests three theories of reorientation: a snapshot theory based on visual image-matching computations, an adaptive combination theory proposing that diverse environmental cues to(More)
We review evidence for two distinct cognitive processes by which humans and animals represent the navigable environment. One process uses the shape of the extended 3D surface layout to specify the navigator’s position and orientation. A second process uses objects and patterns as beacons to specify the locations of significant objects. Although much of the(More)
For many centuries, philosophers and scientists have pondered the origins and nature of human intuitions about the properties of points, lines, and figures on the Euclidean plane, with most hypothesizing that a system of Euclidean concepts either is innate or is assembled by general learning processes. Recent research from cognitive and developmental(More)
Research on navigation has shown that humans and laboratory animals recover their sense of orientation primarily by detecting geometric properties of large-scale surface layouts (e.g. room shape), but the reasons for the primacy of layout geometry have not been clarified. In four experiments, we tested whether 4-year-old children reorient by the geometry of(More)
Research on humans from birth to maturity converges with research on diverse animals to reveal foundational cognitive systems in human and animal minds. The present article focuses on two such systems of geometry. One system represents places in the navigable environment by recording the distance and direction of the navigator from surrounding, extended(More)
Disoriented animals from ants to humans reorient in accord with the shape of the surrounding surface layout: a behavioral pattern long taken as evidence for sensitivity to layout geometry. Recent computational models suggest, however, that the reorientation process may not depend on geometrical analyses but instead on the matching of brightness contours in(More)
Geometry is one of the highest achievements of our species, but its foundations are obscure. Consistent with longstanding suggestions that geometrical knowledge is rooted in processes guiding navigation, the present study examines potential sources of geometrical knowledge in the navigation processes by which young children establish their sense of(More)
Spatial reorientation by layout geometry occurs in numerous species, but its underlying mechanisms are debated. While some argue that navigating animals' sense of place is based on geometric computations over three-dimensional representations, others claim it depends on panoramic image-matching processes. Because children reorient by subtle(More)
While disoriented humans and animals use both landmarks and environmental geometry to guide their navigation, it is not clear what kinds of cognitive mechanisms underlie these behaviors. Because traditional tests of trained navigation behavior in environments containing both landmarks and geometric information may cloud our insight into the nature of these(More)