Giurfa, M., & Capaldi, E. A. (1999). Vectors, routes and maps: New discoveries about navigation in insects. Trends in Neurosciences, 22(6), 237-242.

Discusses a controversial issue surrounding research on the cognitive-map hypothesis, the belief that insects have a form of spatial memory, in which the geometrical relationship between defined points are preserved. A dispute which revolves around the theoretical nature of the insects' internal representation of space and the interpretation of experiments that are designed to investigate it is explored. New interpretations of the cognitive-map concept of insect navigation are discussed, and simpler explanations for short-cuts on past research findings, using honeybees and desert ants, are provided. It is concluded that it is not justifiable to assume that bees possess a cognitive map in the strictest sense. New interpretations have led to a skepticism of the cognitive-map concept, concluding that the cognitive-map is no longer a useful hypothesis for explaining the spatial behavior of animals, and that use of the term should be avoided. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved) Record 8 of 8 in PsycINFO 1999-2000/12


Hogarth, L. A., Roberts, W. A., Roberts, S., & Abroms, B. (2000). Spatial localization of a goal: Beacon homing and landmark piloting by rats on a radial maze. Animal Learning and Behavior, 28(1), 43-58.

Six experiments examined the ability of rats to use moving beacons and landmarks as cues to the location of reward on an 8-arm radial maze. In Exps 1-4, the cues and goals were moved before each trial, and groups in which a single beacon was placed on the rewarded arm, a single landmark indicated that reward was on the arm immediately to the left of a landmark, or 2 landmarks were placed on each side of the reward arm were compared. The rats rapidly learned to track the reward in the beacon condition, failed to find the reward sooner than chance expectation with a single landmark, and did only slightly better than chance with 2 landmarks. In Exps 5 and 6, the rats were trained in 5 trials per day, with the landmark and goal locations constant over daily rewarded trials, and in 2 extinction trials that were inserted among the rewarded trials. The rats found the goal arm at substantially better than chance expectancy with both 1 and 2 landmarks. The results show that rats will use the relationship between moving landmarks and a goal in order to find reward. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved) Record 4 of 8 in PsycINFO 1999-2000/12

Olthof, A., Sutton, J. E., Slumskie, S. V., D' Addetta, J., & Roberts, W. A. (1999). In search of the cognitive map: Can rats learn an abstract pattern of rewarded arms on the radial maze? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, 25(3), 352-362.

Five experiments were performed to examine rats' abilities to form an abstract cognitive map of the pattern of baited arm locations on a radial maze and to recognize that pattern when it was moved to a new location. Following an initial period of training with patterns of rewarded and nonrewarded arms (Exps 1 and 2) or with patterns of different quantities of reward (Exp 3), a test phase was carried out in which the initial pattern was rotated varying distances around the maze. In Exps 4 and 5, testing was carried out in an environment different from the one used in training. All 5 experiments failed to yield any evidence that rats learned a geometric or topographical representation of a pattern of reward locations that could be transferred to a new placement of the pattern. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)(journal abstract) Record 7 of 8 in PsycINFO 1999-2000/12


Wang, R. X. F., & Spelke, E. S. (2000). Updating egocentric representations in human navigation. Cognition, 77(3), 215-250.

Seven experiments tested whether human navigation depends on enduring representations, or on momentary egocentric representations that are updated as one moves. Human subjects pointed to unseen targets, either while remaining oriented or after they had been disoriented by self-rotation. Disorientation reduced not only the absolute accuracy of pointing to all objects ('heading error') but also the relative accuracy of pointing to different objects ('configuration error'). .......These findings cast doubt on the view that accurate navigation depends primarily on an enduring, observer-free cognitive map, .... Like insects, humans represent the egocentric distances and directions of objects and continuously update these representations as they move. The principal evolutionary advance in animal navigation may concern the number of unseen targets whose egocentric directions and distances can be represented and updated simultaneously, rather than a qualitative shift in navigation toward reliance on an allocentric map. (C) 2000 Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.