Navigating in a three-dimensional world

Jeffery, K. J. , Jovalekic, A., Verriotis, M. and Hayman, R. (2013) Navigating in a three-dimensional world. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36(5), pp. 523-543. (doi: 10.1017/S0140525X12002476) (PMID:24103594)

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The study of spatial cognition has provided considerable insight into how animals (including humans) navigate on the horizontal plane. However, the real world is three-dimensional, having a complex topography including both horizontal and vertical features, which presents additional challenges for representation and navigation. The present article reviews the emerging behavioral and neurobiological literature on spatial cognition in non-horizontal environments. We suggest that three-dimensional spaces are represented in a quasi-planar fashion, with space in the plane of locomotion being computed separately and represented differently from space in the orthogonal axis – a representational structure we have termed “bicoded.” We argue that the mammalian spatial representation in surface-travelling animals comprises a mosaic of these locally planar fragments, rather than a fully integrated volumetric map. More generally, this may be true even for species that can move freely in all three dimensions, such as birds and fish. We outline the evidence supporting this view, together with the adaptive advantages of such a scheme.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Jeffery, Professor Kate
Authors: Jeffery, K. J., Jovalekic, A., Verriotis, M., and Hayman, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Psychology & Neuroscience
Journal Name:Behavioral and Brain Sciences
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN (Online):1469-1825
Published Online:08 October 2013

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