Spatial updating relies on an egocentric representation of space: effects of the number of objects

Psychon Bull Rev. 2006 Apr;13(2):281-6. doi: 10.3758/bf03193844.


Models of spatial updating attempt to explain how representations of spatial relationships between the actor and objects in the environment change as the actor moves. In allocentric models, object locations are encoded in an external reference frame, and only the actor's position and orientation in that reference frame need to be updated. Thus, spatial updating should be independent of the number of objects in the environment (set size). In egocentric updating models, object locations are encoded relative to the actor, so the location of each object relative to the actor must be updated as the actor moves. Thus, spatial updating efficiency should depend on set size. We examined which model better accounts for human spatial updating by having people reconstruct the locations of varying numbers of virtual objects either from the original study position or from a changed viewing position. In consistency with the egocentric updating model, object localization following a viewpoint change was affected by the number of objects in the environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Environment*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Self Concept*
  • Space Perception*