Participants explored a real-time, computer-simulated, three-dimensional environment modelled on a kite-shaped maze used to study the shortcut ability of hamsters by Chapuis, Dump, and Thinus-Blanc (1987). They were then asked to take the shortest routes between selected locations. The results were similar to those of Chapuis et al., showing that in humans also, exploration of two parallel outer paths that connected four target locations (e.g., A-B, and C-D) was not sufficient to support later shortcut performance between locations A and D; successful shortcut performance required exploratory experience of a connecting path between the explored sub-spaces (B-C). These results add to the evidence suggesting similarities in the spatial knowledge acquired by humans and animals, and suggest a limitation on an analysis of spatial location learning based only on exposure to configurations of landmarks.
- virtual environment