Perspective-taking vs. mental rotation transformations and how they predict spatial navigation performance



In Experiment 1, participants completed one of two versions of a computerized pointing direction task that used the same stimuli but different spatial transformation instructions. In the perspective-taking version, participants were to imagine standing at one location facing a second location and then to imagine pointing to a third location. In the array-rotation version, participants saw a vector pointing to one location, were to imagine the second vector with the same base as the first pointing to a second location, to mentally rotate the two vectors, and finally to indicate the direction of the imagined vector after the rotation. In Experiment 2, participants completed the perspective-taking, mental rotation, and four large-scale navigational tasks. The results showed that the perspective-taking task required unique spatial transformation ability from the array rotation task, and the perspective-taking task predicted unique variance over the mental rotation task in navigational tasks that required updating self-to-object representations. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.