Standard Article

Spatial Memory

  1. Bruno Poucet

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0931

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Poucet, B. 2010. Spatial Memory. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–2.

Author Information

  1. Universite de Provence, Marseille, France

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


Spatial memory is ubiquitous. Almost every action takes place in space and requires some form of spatial memory. Also, it can easily be studied in animals, which often have outstanding spatial capabilities. Consider, for instance, the memory capabilities of food-storing birds. During autumn, many birds store seeds that they retrieve later on (often several months after the storing episode), when the environment does not provide the necessary amount of fresh food. Thus an individual bird will store hundreds of food items in numerous caches scattered throughout its home range. Retrieving these food caches will depend at least partly on the bird's memory for their locations. For example, laboratory experiments show that Clark's nutcrackers show excellent retention of many spatial locations over time periods greater than 9 months. Other observations suggest that scrub jays remember more than just spatial locations. They also remember what type of food has been cached and whether it is perishable.


  • spatial cognition;
  • hippocampus;
  • entorhinal cortex