Document Detail

The impact of landmark properties in shaping exploration and navigation.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17318624     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
This study was aimed at uncovering physical and geometric properties that make a particular landmark a target of exploration and navigation. Rats were tested in a square open-field arena with additional portable corners featuring the same properties as the arena corners. It was found that the routes of progression converged upon the added corners, whether located at the arena wall or the arena center. Route convergence upon the added corners involved numerous visits to these corners. However, time spent at the added corners was relatively short compared with the arena corners, including that from which rats were introduced into the arena. There was no differential effect of testing rats in light or dark, or with a low versus a high portable corner. It is suggested that the added corners were distinct against the background of the arena enclosure, whereas the four arena corners and walls were encoded by the rats as one geometric module. This distinctness, together with the greater accessibility of the added corners, made them salient landmarks and a target of exploration. Thus, the impact of a landmark extended beyond its specific self-geometry to include accessibility and distinctness, which are contextual properties. In addition to the contextual impact on locomotor behavior there was also a temporal effect, with security initially dominating the rats' behavior but then declining along with an increased attraction to salient landmarks. These spatiotemporal patterns characterized behavior in both lit and dark arenas, indicating that distal cues were secondary to local proximal cues in shaping routes.
Osnat Yaski; David Eilam
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2007-02-22
Journal Detail:
Title:  Animal cognition     Volume:  10     ISSN:  1435-9448     ISO Abbreviation:  Anim Cogn     Publication Date:  2007 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-09-24     Completed Date:  2008-01-08     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9814573     Medline TA:  Anim Cogn     Country:  Germany    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  415-28     Citation Subset:  IM    
Department of Zoology, Tel-Aviv University, Ramat-Aviv, 69978, Israel.
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MeSH Terms
Analysis of Variance
Exploratory Behavior*
Motor Activity*
Pattern Recognition, Visual
Random Allocation
Rats, Long-Evans
Space Perception*
Spatial Behavior*

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