Article

Sex differences in the effect of articulatory or spatial dual-task interference during navigation

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Abstract

Women are more likely to employ landmark-based strategies when navigating, and they are superior at employing this type of strategy. The cause of this sexually dimorphic behaviour is unknown. Seventy-nine undergraduates performed a matrix navigation task wherein the symbols within the matrix were highly nameable. Participants were either given landmark-based or Euclidean-based instructions for navigation within the matrix. During navigation, participants were subjected to either articulatory or spatial interference. The articulatory interference selectively impaired women's ability to navigate correctly, regardless of the type of instruction. The performance of the men was not affected differentially by the two types of interference. When given a test of symbol recognition following the navigation task, women recognized more of the symbols employed in the task. Collectively, this result suggests that women rely on linguistic information more than men do when navigating, regardless of the type of instruction.

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... Another popular theory about the evolution of gender specific skills involves the Neolithic hunter/gatherer lifestyle of our ancestors. During navigation, females rely more on landmark cues while males tend to rely more on geometric cues (Williams, 1990;Bever, 1992;Sandstrom, 1998;Saucier, 2003). In accordance with the respective brain structures, males are thought to be better at tasks that require spatial skills, depth reckoning and visuospatial processing for which they use frontal/basal ganglia circuits which have been associated with the procedural memory system specialised for rules and sequences (Ullman, 2008). ...
... In accordance with the respective brain structures, males are thought to be better at tasks that require spatial skills, depth reckoning and visuospatial processing for which they use frontal/basal ganglia circuits which have been associated with the procedural memory system specialised for rules and sequences (Ullman, 2008). Females' reliance on landmark cues ties in with their ability to internally verbalise these stimuli and their superior declarative memory skills, a system that may be particularly important for learning idiosyncratic information, specifically arbitrary relations (Lewin, 2001;Saucier, 2003). Ullman (2008) suggests that the gender specific strategies in spatial navigation tasks can be linked to language storage and processing. ...
... Specific focus has been put on so called episodic memory tasks, where subjects are asked to remember certain stimuli in a short period of time. Females outperformed males when asked to remember all kinds of verbal stimuli like words, digits or paragraph content (Kimura, 1999), but also nameable items like landmarks (Saucier, 2003) and real objects (Ullman, 2008). This verbal/spatial link does not however account for data pertaining to females' superior memory of object locations (Alexander, 2002), novel faces (Lewin, 2001) and complex abstract patterns (McGivern, 1997). ...
Chapter
In recent years, research has shown that the neurocognition of language, e.g. how language is learned, stored and retrieved, differs between men and women. To a certain extent, these findings could be linked to differences in brain structure and function, especially the gender specific connectivity of the brain and convergent activation patterns during speech perception. Women were found to show greater interhemispheric activity than men in language related tasks, pointing towards a stronger emotional involvement in declarative memory retrieval. In men, the same processes seem to be performed by only one hemisphere which is connected to the procedural memory system, specialised for rules and sequences. Considering the bilateral hemispheric activation in women in language related tasks, this study firstly hypothesised that they would outperform men in vocabulary memory tasks. Due to the assumption that men rely more on the procedural memory system for memorising lexical information, the second hypothesis examined whether men perform better in grammar learning tasks than women. Using the LLAMA B and the LLAMA F test, participants were required to remember words or grammatical rules for artificial languages respectively. Even though the results show no significant differences, they yield interesting points for discussion about possibly undesirable links between the two tests. Furthermore, interviews with the participants after testing in relation to their test scores showed fascinating links between testing success and emotional involvement with the stimuli.
... Substantial individual differences in navigational ability have been observed (Choi and Silverman 2003, Kato and Takeuchi 2003). Males tend to excel in many navigational tasks (Cutmore et al. 2000, Saucier et al. 2003). Conversely, females tend to excel in tasks requiring memory for object locations (Choi and Silverman 2003, Choi and L'Hirondelle 2005). ...
... Individuals who use survey strategies tend to have the additional advantage of having greater flexibility in navigational strategy. That is, they are better able to switch to a route strategy if situational demands extraneous to the navigation task place high demands on visuospatial resources (Saucier et al. 2003). Conversely, if route strategy navigators are prohibited from using verbal strategies (i.e. by imposing a concurrent articulatory suppression task), they are less able to switch strategies and therefore tend to exhibit greater performance decrements (Saucier et al. 2003). ...
... That is, they are better able to switch to a route strategy if situational demands extraneous to the navigation task place high demands on visuospatial resources (Saucier et al. 2003). Conversely, if route strategy navigators are prohibited from using verbal strategies (i.e. by imposing a concurrent articulatory suppression task), they are less able to switch strategies and therefore tend to exhibit greater performance decrements (Saucier et al. 2003). These differences in navigational ability and strategy are likely to influence the effectiveness of various RGS formats for individual users. ...
Article
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Three investigations that demonstrate the importance of considering individual differences when designing in-vehicle navigation systems are described. Drivers were categorised in terms of their spatial awareness and wayfinding strategies, based on brief self-report questionnaires. Experiment 1 revealed individual differences in route learning performance as a function of these categories and display modality (visual, auditory or both). Experiment 2 demonstrated that individuals within these categories use different route learning strategies that place differential demands on verbal vs. visuospatial working memory. Experiment 3 examined the navigational strategies and capabilities of older drivers and offers evidence-based design suggestions. These findings show that individual driver characteristics must be considered in order to reduce the attentional cost of extracting information from in-vehicle navigation systems. Effective displays are not a one size fits all configuration.
... Considerable evidence now indicates that people develop different strategies for wayfinding and navigation that are accompanied by a tendency to orient themselves in reference to either egocentric (a first-person, field forward perspective) or geocentric perspective, which is also called allocentric and is based on cardinal directions irrespective of an individual's current orientation (Baldwin, 2009;Baldwin and Reagan, 2009;Hegarty, Montello, Richardson, Ishikawa, and Lovelace, 2006;Kato and Takeuchi, 2003;Lawton, 2001;Saucier, Bowman, and Elias, 2003). People who wayfind from an egocentric perspective will tend to need directions to go left or right at particular landmarks and will follow a verbal, sequential set of directions. ...
... But the reverse is not true. That is, people who tend to rely on an egocentric, verbalsequential strategy tend to have difficulty if not find it impossible to use a geocentric perspective (Gugerty and Brooks, 2004;Saucier et al., 2003). There has been a slight but consistent trend for males to prefer a geocentric, visuospatial perspective while females have a tendency to prefer the egocentric, verbal-sequential strategy (Lawton, 1994;Saucier et al., 2003). ...
... That is, people who tend to rely on an egocentric, verbalsequential strategy tend to have difficulty if not find it impossible to use a geocentric perspective (Gugerty and Brooks, 2004;Saucier et al., 2003). There has been a slight but consistent trend for males to prefer a geocentric, visuospatial perspective while females have a tendency to prefer the egocentric, verbal-sequential strategy (Lawton, 1994;Saucier et al., 2003). However, as will be discussed, these tendencies are far from clear cut and the sexbased distinction appears to be lessening over time. ...
Chapter
The present study investigated transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) effects on working memory (WM) maintenance and memory consolidation in healthy human participants. We examined the behavioral effects of theta-frequency stimulation to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) as recent electrophysiological findings indicated that increased DLPFC theta synchronization predicts WM function and successful verbal-memory encoding. We utilized a verbal n-Back task known to be associated with DLPFC function and frontal theta activity to assess tACS manipulation effects on online (stimulation during WM task) WM accuracy, as well as on post-stimulation (immediately after stimulation) WM accuracy. Additionally, to investigate possible after-effects of tACS 20 minutes post-stimulation, we administered a free-recall procedure to evaluate episodic retrieval accuracy as an indication of successful memory consolidation. Results indicated enhanced online WM accuracy in the active bilateral DLPFC tACS condition. Significant implicit episodic memory after-effects were found in the active left DLPFC tACS condition as well as in the active bilateral DLPFC tACS condition. Most interestingly, explicit episodic retrieval was enhanced only in the active bilateral DLPFC condition. Our findings imply that bilateral DLPFC oscillatory stimulation may be used to increase functional connectivity in order to improve WM function and episodic memory formation.
... Previous studies showed that there are gender differences in the ability to acquire spatial information and navigate through real and VE's. This may be the result of the different type of information that males and females focus within their environments (Sandstrom, Kaufman, & Huettel, 1998;Saucier, Bowman, & Elias, 2003;Tlauka, Brolese, Pomeroy, & Hobbs, 2005). When people give navigational directions to others, females refer more to landmarks and other visual objects along a route. ...
... They also show greater accuracy in recalling landmarks and in estimating distances to landmarks, and report using a route-based navigation strategy. On the other hand, it is reported that males use more cardinal directions and an orientation strategy (Dabbs, Chang, Strong, & Milun, 1998;Iachini, Sergi, Ruggiero, & Gnisci, 2005;Lawton & Morrin, 1999;O'Laughlin & Brubaker, 1998;Sandstrom et al., 1998;Saucier et al., 2003). There has been a significant advantage of males for spatial route learning through an unfamiliar environment and on tasks requiring survey knowledge, for example, pointing directions, drawing a sketch map and estimating travel distances (Cubukcu & Nasar, 2005;Devlin & Bernstein, 1995;Lawton & Morrin, 1999;Moffat, Hampson, & Hatzipantelis, 1998;O'Laughlin & Brubaker, 1998;Tlauka et al., 2005). ...
... There was no relationship between gender and the movement types in the VE. Contrary to the previous studies (Saucier et al., 2003;Tlauka et al., 2005) that found gender differences in the ability to acquire spatial information and a male superiority in judgment of relative directions (Cubukcu & Nasar, 2005;Devlin & Bernstein, 1995;Lawton & Morrin, 1999;O'Laughlin & Brubaker, 1998), both genders within the two movement types performed equally well in the pointing task. Even though computers are seen as a male domain (Quaiser-Pohl et al., 2006), the present study revealed no gender differences. ...
Article
Full-text available
Spatial reasoning in architectural design can be better understood by considering the factors that affect the spatial updating process of the individual in an environment. This study focuses on the issue of spatial updating of viewed and imagined objects after rotational and translational body movements in a virtual environment (VE). Rotational and translational movements based on an egocentric frame of reference where there is no control of the user are compared in a desktop VE. Moreover, preference in architectural drawing medium and gender are analyzed as the factors that affect the spatial updating of objects in each body movement type. The results indicated that translational movement was more efficient than the rotational movement in judgment of relative directions in viewed objects. Furthermore, the viewed objects were more correctly spatially updated than the imagined ones both in translational and rotational body movements. In comparison of hand, computer and both as the drawing media, findings indicated that preference in computer medium in architectural design drawings was an effective one in spatial updating process in a VE. Contrary to the previous studies, it is found that there was no significant difference between gender and movement types.
... In human fMRI studies, the fusiform and parahippocampal gyri have been implicated in spatial navigation abilities (Meulenbroek et al., 2004(Meulenbroek et al., , 2010Epstein et al., 2007;Ohnishi et al., 2006). A male superiority in navigation abilities has repeatedly been reported in several species (Kavaliers et al., 1998;Cimadevilla et al., 2000;Saucier et al., 2003Saucier et al., , 2008Blokland et al., 2006;Cherney et al., 2008) and related to the use of different strategies (Saucier et al., 2003;Blokland et al., 2006;Cherney et al., 2008). A recent study by Pleil and Williams (2010) in rats shows that strategy use in a spatial navigation task is modulated by cycle-dependent hormonal changes. ...
... In human fMRI studies, the fusiform and parahippocampal gyri have been implicated in spatial navigation abilities (Meulenbroek et al., 2004(Meulenbroek et al., , 2010Epstein et al., 2007;Ohnishi et al., 2006). A male superiority in navigation abilities has repeatedly been reported in several species (Kavaliers et al., 1998;Cimadevilla et al., 2000;Saucier et al., 2003Saucier et al., , 2008Blokland et al., 2006;Cherney et al., 2008) and related to the use of different strategies (Saucier et al., 2003;Blokland et al., 2006;Cherney et al., 2008). A recent study by Pleil and Williams (2010) in rats shows that strategy use in a spatial navigation task is modulated by cycle-dependent hormonal changes. ...
Article
Sex differences in human brain structure have repeatedly been described, but results are inconsistent. However, these studies hardly controlled for cycle phase of women or the use of hormonal contraceptives. Our study shows that these factors are not negligible, but have a considerable influence on human brain structure. We acquired high-resolution structural images from the brains of 14 men, 14 women, who did not use, and 14 women, who did use hormonal contraceptives. Women, who did not use hormonal contraceptives, were scanned twice, once during their early follicular and once during their mid-luteal cycle-phase. Regional gray matter volumes were compared by voxel-based morphometry. Men had larger hippocampi, parahippocampal and fusiform gyri, amygdalae and basal ganglia than women. Women showed larger gray matter volumes in the prefrontal cortex, pre- and postcentral gyri. These sex-dependent effects were modulated by menstrual cycle phases and hormonal contraceptives. We found larger volumes in the right fusiform/parahippocampal gyrus during early follicular compared to mid-luteal cycle phase. Women using hormonal contraceptives showed significantly larger prefrontal cortices, pre- and postcentral gyri, parahippocampal and fusiform gyri and temporal regions, compared to women not using contraceptives.
... Alternatively, if the angular information was treated as geometric, the results would resemble the typical competition and preference effects shown between geometry and features in this type of task. Specifically, human males tend to rely more heavily on geometric information in a conflict situation, while females prefer to use featural information (Astur et al. 1998;MacFadden et al. 2003;Saucier et al. 2003;Kelly and Bischof 2005;Andersen et al. 2012). Therefore, the results of Experiments 1 and 2 could potentially inform us about whether adult humans and pigeons treated angular information as featural or as geometric information. ...
... Some recent studies have proposed that due to the differing visual salience of different amplitudes (i.e., a 30°angle looks very different than a 100°angle), angles may be encoded as independent features rather than as geometric information that is integrated into the overall shape of the environment Sturz et al. 2012). However, the sex difference found in our study is similar to a common sex effect found in studies examining spatial reorientation in enclosed environments which contain both geometric and featural information: men tend to rely more heavily on geometric information, whereas women primarily rely on featural information (Astur et al. 1998;MacFadden et al. 2003;Saucier et al. 2003;Kelly and Bischof 2005;Lourenco et al. 2011;Andersen et al. 2012). It is important to emphasize that women are able to encode the geometric properties of their environments, such as was shown in the Feature Removed test (see also Kelly and Bischof 2008); it simply appears that features serve as a primary source of information for reorientation in females. ...
Article
Although geometric reorientation has been extensively studied in numerous species, most research has been conducted in enclosed environments and has focused on use of the geometric property of relative wall length. The current studies investigated how angular information is used by adult humans and pigeons to orient and find a goal in enclosures or arrays that did not provide relative wall length information. In enclosed conditions, the angles formed a diamond shape connected by walls, whereas in array conditions, free-standing angles defined the diamond shape. Adult humans and pigeons were trained to locate two geometrically equivalent corners, either the 60° or 120° angles. Blue feature panels were located in the goal corners so that participants could use either the features or the local angular information to orient. Subsequent tests in manipulated environments isolated the individual cues from training or placed them in conflict with one another. In both enclosed and array environments, humans and pigeons were able to orient when either the angles or the features from training were removed. On conflict tests, female, but not male, adult humans weighted features more heavily than angular geometry. For pigeons, angles were weighted more heavily than features for birds that were trained to go to acute corners, but no difference in weighting was seen for birds trained to go to obtuse corners. These conflict test results were not affected by environment type. A subsequent test with pigeons ruled out an interpretation based on exclusive use of a principal axis rather than angle. Overall, the results indicate that, for both adult humans and pigeons, angular amplitude is a salient orientation cue in both enclosures and arrays of free-standing angles.
... We also showed that gender had an impact on the PRP, males having a lower PRP than females. This result is consistent with the literature (Briem and Hedman 1995;Voyer et al. 1995;Goddard et al. 1998;Vecchi and Girelli 1998;Hancock et al. 2003;Saucier et al. 2003), since women are generally more affected by an interfering condition in diverse tasks, which suggests that this could be due to core gender differences in divided attention. ...
... Thus, gender differences in visuo-spatial tasks are found when both tasks must be actively processed. Similar results were found by Saucier et al. (2003) in a study where participants realized a visuo-spatial task while either performing an articulatory interference task (repeating the days of the week) or while executing a spatial interference task (tapping pattern with left hand). While males were not affected differently by the interference tasks, women performed less well when doing the articulatory interference tasks. ...
Article
Full-text available
The goal of this study was to assess the impact of individual neuropsychological differences on the ability to share attention between concurrent tasks. Participants (n = 20) were trained on six single task practice sessions and dual-task was assessed with reaction time performance on a psychological refractory period (PRP) paradigm. Neuropsychological test scores were also acquired. Furthermore, one of the known variables that can influence performances on neuropsychological tests is gender, which was added as a potential predictor. Results show that the small PRP group was associated with better performances in processing speed, inhibition, flexibility and working memory on neuropsychological tests. Gender also had an impact on the PRP, males having a lower PRP than females. A multiple regression was performed to determine which variables explained the most PRP duration, which showed that 49.1% of the variance of the PRP length could be explained by gender, reaction times of the PRP practice trials at the sixth session, the denomination and flexibility conditions of the Modified Stroop Task as well as results on the Symbol Search Test. Gender was the variable that explained the PRP variance the most (23%). Processing speed also seemed to be a great determinant of the PRP as well as the ability to alternate between task-sets as assessed by the Flexibility condition of the Modified Stroop Task. Thus, this study reveals that good performances on certain neuropsychological tests could predict one's ease to manage two tasks simultaneously with a higher chance for males to perform better.
... Individuals, often female, who rely on these so-called landmark strategies, generally find it difficult or impossible to use more survey-oriented navigational strategies (MacFadden, Elias, & Saucier, 2003). However, good navigators tend to be able to use other, less preferred strategies when the situation demands (Saucier, Bowman, & Elias, 2003). For example, good navigators are able to use verbal sequential navigational directions, such as those provided by many commercial online direction services (i.e., MapQuest), even when maps and cardinal headings are not provided. ...
... Using navigational instructions that support individual WM strategies (Baldwin, in press; Furukawa et al., 2004) and eliminating extraneous demands on the same processes may reduce disorientation and training time while improving efficiency. Individuals with poor SOD can be expected to particularly benefit from verbal guidance instructions and elimination of extraneous verbal interference while navigating (Saucier et al., 2003). The performance of those with good SOD could be more robust to verbal interference—but potentially more disrupted by concurrent visuospatial interference during navigation. ...
Article
Full-text available
The current investigation examined individual differences in route-learning strategies and their relative demands on visuospatial versus verbal working memory (WM) resources in virtual environments. Learning new routes is a resource-demanding activity that must often be carried out in conjunction with other concurrent tasks. Virtual environments (VEs) are increasingly being used for training and research, pointing to the importance of determining the strategies people use to learn routes in these environments. Participants classified as having good or poor sense of direction (SOD) attempted to learn novel routes while concurrently performing either a verbal (articulatory suppression) or a visuospatial (tapping) WM interference task. Different navigational strategies were observed in each SOD group. Individuals with poor SOD relied more heavily on verbal rather than visuospatial WM resources, as evidenced by greater disruption to route-learning performance from the articulatory suppression task relative to the tapping task. Conversely, individuals with good SOD exhibited more route-learning disruption from the tapping task, suggesting a greater reliance on visuospatial WM resources. Individuals differ from one another in the strategies they use and the WM resources they tap--verbal or visuospatial--to learn routes in VEs. Self-report measures can be used as indices of such individual differences in navigational strategy use in VE tasks. Assessing SOD and associated WM resources have implications for targeted training for navigation in VEs and for the design of in-vehicle navigation systems.
... Il existe une grande variabilité dans la performance de personnes normales dans les tâches de navigation (Wolbers & Hegarty, 2010). Les bons navigateurs comparativement aux mauvais navigateurs utilisent des stratégies plus variées (Kato & Takeuchi, 2003) et se montrent plus flexibles quant à la stratégie à adopter (Saucier, et al, 2003 (Hegarty, et al, 2006), et aux stratégies employées (Blajenkova, et al.,, 2005). ...
Article
Full-text available
La vision est un élément très important pour la navigation en général. Grâce à des mécanismes compensatoires les aveugles de naissance ne sont pas handicapés dans leurs compétences spatio-cognitives, ni dans la formation de nouvelles cartes spatiales. Malgré l’essor des études sur la plasticité du cerveau et la navigation chez les aveugles, les substrats neuronaux compensatoires pour la préservation de cette fonction demeurent incompris. Nous avons démontré récemment (article 1) en utilisant une technique d’analyse volumétrique (Voxel-Based Morphometry) que les aveugles de naissance (AN) montrent une diminution de la partie postérieure de l’hippocampe droit, structure cérébrale importante dans la formation de cartes spatiales. Comment les AN forment-ils des cartes cognitives de leur environnement avec un hippocampe postérieur droit qui est significativement réduit ? Pour répondre à cette question nous avons choisi d’exploiter un appareil de substitution sensorielle qui pourrait potentiellement servir à la navigation chez les AN. Cet appareil d’affichage lingual (Tongue display unit -TDU-) retransmet l’information graphique issue d’une caméra sur la langue. Avant de demander à nos sujets de naviguer à l’aide du TDU, il était nécessaire de nous assurer qu’ils pouvaient « voir » des objets dans l’environnement grâce au TDU. Nous avons donc tout d’abord évalué l’acuité « visuo »-tactile (article 2) des sujets AN pour les comparer aux performances des voyants ayant les yeux bandées et munis du TDU. Ensuite les sujets ont appris à négocier un chemin à travers un parcours parsemé d’obstacles i (article 3). Leur tâche consistait à pointer vers (détection), et contourner (négociation) un passage autour des obstacles. Nous avons démontré que les sujets aveugles de naissance non seulement arrivaient à accomplir cette tâche, mais encore avaient une performance meilleure que celle des voyants aux yeux bandés, et ce, malgré l’atrophie structurelle de l’hippocampe postérieur droit, et un système visuel atrophié (Ptito et al., 2008). Pour déterminer quels sont les corrélats neuronaux de la navigation, nous avons créé des routes virtuelles envoyées sur la langue par le biais du TDU que les sujets devaient reconnaitre alors qu’ils étaient dans un scanneur IRMf (article 4). Nous démontrons grâce à ces techniques que les aveugles utilisent un autre réseau cortical impliqué dans la mémoire topographique que les voyants quand ils suivent des routes virtuelles sur la langue. Nous avons mis l’emphase sur des réseaux neuronaux connectant les cortex pariétaux et frontaux au lobe occipital puisque ces réseaux sont renforcés chez les aveugles de naissance. Ces résultats démontrent aussi que la langue peut être utilisée comme une porte d’entrée vers le cerveau en y acheminant des informations sur l’environnement visuel du sujet, lui permettant ainsi d’élaborer des stratégies d’évitement d’obstacles et de se mouvoir adéquatement. Vision is a very important tool for navigation in general. Due to compensatory mechanisms people who are blind from birth are not handicapped in spatio-cognitive abilities, nor in the formation of novel spatial maps. Despite the growing volume of studies on brain plasticity and navigation in the blind, the compensatory neural substrates or the preservation of this function remain unclear. We have recently demonstrated (article 1) by using volumetric analysis techniques (Voxel-Based Morphometry) that early blind individuals (EB) show a reduction of the posterior end of the hippocampus on the right side. This cerebral structure is important for the formation of cognitive maps. How do EB form maps of their environment with a significantly reduced posterior right hippocampus? To answer this question we chose to exploit a sensory substitution device that could potentially serve navigation in EB. This tongue display unit (TDU) is capable of transmitting pictorial imagery in the form of electricity on the tongue. Before asking our participants to navigate using the TDU, it was necessary to ascertain that they could really « see » objects in the environment using the TDU. We thus evaluated the « visuo »-tactile acuity (article 2) of EB compared to sighted blindfolded participants using the TDU. Participants later learned to negotiate a path through an obstacle course (article 3). Their task consisted of pointing to (detection), and avoiding (negotiation) obstacles while advancing through the hallway. We demonstrated that despite a reduced right posterior hippocampus, and an iii atrophied visual system (Ptito et al., 2008) EB not only were able to accomplish this task, but had a better performance than the blindfolded sighted controls. To determine what the neural correlates of navigation in EB are, we devised an fMRI compatible virtual route task conveyed through the tongue (article 4). Participants had to learn to navigate the routes and recognize them. We showed that EB use another cortical network involved in cognitive mapping than the sighted when recognizing routes on the tongue. We have emphasized neural networks connecting parietal and frontal cortices since they are re-enforced in EB. These results show that the tongue can be used as a portal to the brain by transferring pictorial information from the visual environment of participants, allowing the elaboration of strategies to avoid obstacles and move around in their environment.
... Use of the allocentric perspective is frequently more challenging because it involves visualising the scene independent of the observer and mentally rotating map information to correspond with one's current location. Individuals tend to have one dominant frame of reference that they use to perform spatial tasks (Saucier, Bowman and Elias, 2003). However, those with a poor sense of direction (PSD) typically use the egocentric perspective and have great difficulty with cardinal headings and map rotations. ...
Article
The impact of interference from irrelevant spatial versus verbal cues is investigated in an auditory spatial Stroop task, and individual differences in navigation strategy are examined as a moderating factor. Verbal-spatial cue conflict in the auditory modality has not been extensively studied, and yet the potential for such conflict can be high in certain settings, such as modern aircraft and automobile cockpits, where multiple warning systems and verbally delivered instructions may compete for the operator's spatial attention. Two studies are presented in which participants responded to either the semantic meaning or the spatial location of directional words, which were presented from congruent and incongruent locations. A subset was selected from the larger sample for additional analyses based on their navigation strategy. Results demonstrated greater interference when participants were responding to the spatial location and thus attempting to ignore conflicting semantic information. Participants with a verbal navigation strategy paralleled this finding. Conversely, highly spatial navigators responded faster to spatially relevant information but did not show corresponding interference when trying to ignore spatial information. The findings suggest that people have fundamentally different approaches to the use of auditory spatial information that manifest at the early level of orienting toward a single word or sound. When designing spatial information displays and warning systems, particularly those with an auditory component, designers should ensure that either verbal-directional or nonverbal-spatial information is utilized by all alerts to reduce interference. © 2014, Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
... It has also been found that women, more than men, tend to use less abstract, more concrete representations of the environment, such as landmarks. Conversely, men tend to use more abstract representations such as cardinal directions (e.g., north, south) [29]. When the level of abstraction is considered, it can be seen that bottom-up programming and landmark identification both use a low level of abstraction. ...
Conference Paper
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Spatial cognition and program development have both been examined using contrasting models. We suggest that sex-based differences in one's perception of risk is the key to relating these models. Specifically, the survey map approach to navigation and the top-down development/comprehension strategy use similar and related high risk cognitive skills that males show a preference towards. Conversely, the route-based approach to navigation and the bottom-up development/comprehension strategy use similar and related low risk cognitive skills that women show a preference towards. On the assumption that programmers are consistent in their risk-taking behaviours, we believe that they, as much as possible, tend to use the same strategy when performing program development and comprehension. In an experimental setting, we compare programmer's performance on spatial cognition and program comprehension tasks. The correlations that we found suggest that programmers use equivalently risky strategies for program comprehension and spatial cognition. Thus, there is evidence that similar cognitive skills are used for spatial cognition and program comprehension/development, and that the similarities are a consequence of sex-based differences in risk-taking behaviour
... Conversely, men prefer to use more abstract representations such as cardinal directions (e.g. north, south) [29]. When the level of abstraction is considered, it can be seen that bottom-up programming and landmark identification both use a low level of abstraction. ...
Article
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Spatial cognition has been well examined using various psycholog-ical perspectives. Here we suggest that this previous research can be utilized to provide insight into source-code navigation and program comprehension. In our model, code represents an abstract space that must be navigated using the same cognitive strategies as for natural environments. Thus, when navigating 'codespace' computer programmers face many of the same challenges as peo-ple navigating within the real world, and consequently, will likely rely on similar skills and strategies. In support of this observation, we explore from a theoretical perspective the use of spatial cognition during program comprehension. Exam-ination reveals that research in spatial cognition provides, albeit currently un-proven, explanations for programmer behaviours during program comprehension activities. To validate our model, we suggest a preliminary experiment to explore the existence of codespace.
... Dans la condition avec les étoiles, seulement les groupes plus âgés, soit ceux de 11 et 18 mois, ont été en mesure d'utiliser les repères pour prédire le lieu de la récompense. De façon intéressante, les bébés âgés de 9 mois avaient tendance à regarder les deux fenêtres, comme s'ils ne savaient pas à quels indices faire confiance : ceux égocentriques ou (Hegarty et al., 2006) dû à leur capacité d'utiliser plusieurs stratégies de navigation, mais surtout grâce à leur faciliter à les interchanger en fonction de la situation (Kato & Takeuchi, 2003;Saucier et al., 2003). , 1976). ...
Thesis
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Vision is the preferred sense for interacting with our environment. This is why the visual system takes up more than a third of the cerebral cortex. When an individual loses his vision, this system misses its primary source of stimuli. It therefore undergoes a massive neuronal reorganization and becomes an intermodal space. To do so, it recruits afferents from other modalities so that they take over the functions that are normally mediated by vision. This phenomenon, known as cerebral plasticity, is stimulated by the experience of blindness as well as by the training of the functional senses. This causes the blind to develop supra-abilities in their functional modalities. Sensory substitution is a principle that exploits this phenomenon. It makes it possible to substitute a deficient modality with another modality. To help the blind, sensory substitution devices are being developed to convey visual information via touch or hearing. Although these devices attempt to provide functional vision for the blind, the main issue they try to address is the improvement of the navigational independency of the blind. However, these devices are very little appreciated by the blind since they are inaccessible and provide a complex signal that requires intense training and too high of a cognitive load. Therefore, in this project, we evaluated the potential of a new sensory substitution device that provides information strictly relevant to spatial navigation in the form of horizontally spatialized sounds. To do so, early blind , late blind and sighted blindfolded individuals were tested for their ability to detect and avoid obstacles using the device under experimental conditions. The study showed that it is possible to use this device as a navigation aid and that this system is used more effectively by the blind.
... Conversely, men tend to use more abstract representations such as cardinal directions (e.g. north, south) [23]. When the level of abstraction is considered, it can be seen that bottom-up programming and landmark identification both use a low level of abstraction. ...
Article
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Spatial cognition has been well examined using various psychological perspectives. Here we suggest that this previous research can be utilized to generate testable hypotheses pertaining to the navigation of computer source-code. In our model, code represents an abstract space that must be navigated using the same cognitive strategies as for natural environments. Thus, when navigating 'codespace' computer programmers face many of the same challenges as people navigating within the real world, and consequently, will likely rely on similar strategies. Based on this observation, we present ten examples of studies that provide directives for future research. These examples are derived from the application of psychological spatial ability research to computer science.
... Although some studies show a gender effect under DT conditions with OAs, others do not (Hollman et al. 2011;Wellmon 2012). The results from studies that have evaluated YA performance in DT contexts suggest that it is the modality targeted by the cognitive task that influences performance as opposed to gender (Saucier et al. 2003;McGowan and Duka 2000). Thus, the ambiguity seen across the age continuum with respect to the effect of gender on DT performance makes it difficult to comment on whether our outcomes may have been influenced by the disproportion of females to males in our study. ...
Article
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The study used a dual-task (DT) postural paradigm (two tasks performed at once) that included electroencephalography (EEG) to examine cortical interference when a visual working memory (VWM) task was paired with a postural task. The change detection task was used, as it requires storage of information without updating or manipulation and predicts VWM capacity. Ground reaction forces (GRFs) (horizontal and vertical), EMG, and EEG elements, time locked to support surface perturbations, were used to infer the active neural processes underlying the automatic control of balance in 14 young adults. A significant reduction was seen between single task (ST) and DT conditions in VWM capacity (F(1,13) = 6.175, p < 0.05, r = 06) and event-related potential (ERP) N1 component amplitude over the L motor (p < 0.001) and R sensory (p < 0.05) cortical areas. In addition, a significant increase in the COP trajectory peak (pkcopx) was seen in the DT versus ST condition. Modulation of VWM capacity as well as ERP amplitude and pkcopx in DT conditions provided evidence of an interference pattern, suggesting that the two modalities shared a similar set of attentional resources. The results provide direct evidence of the competition for central processing attentional resources between the two modalities, through the reduction in amplitude of the ERP evoked by the postural perturbation.
... It is possible that gender differences manifest themselves depending on the type of task. In a study by Saucier, Bowman and Elias (2003), participants performed a navigation task on a two-dimensional matrix with symbols. Participants were either given landmark-based or Euclidean-based instructions for navigation within the matrix. ...
Article
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In the area of occupational health and safety multitasking becomes more and more important. Studies have shown that multitasking leads to a decrease in performance. However, studies often try to identify underlying mental mechanisms. Multitasking and its consequences for occupational health and safety are rarely considered. In this study, the effects of multitasking were investigated using two work-related scenarios. Changes were assessed in relation to three areas: performance values, subjective strain and physiological parameters. Data was also analyzed with respect to possible gender and age differences. Due to a focus on people of working age, the participants were aged between 21 and 60 years old. Multitasking led to reduced performance and increased levels of subjective strain. Changes in physiological parameters appear to be dependent on the type of task. There were no gender and virtually no age differences regarding the single-task compared to the multitasking condition. Overall, the data suggests that multitasking in the workplace should be minimized, at least for certain tasks, in order to prevent mistakes and potential accidents as well as mental strain. Further research should be carried out to investigate the long-term effects of multitasking on performance and health.
... Gender differences in spatial ability are among the most robust findings in cognition research (Linn and Petersen 1985) with male and female students in the United States and Canada demonstrating differences in spatial navigation (e.g., Lawton 1994;Saucier et al. 2003;Moffat et al. 1998;Sandstrom et al. 1998) and mental rotation (MR) tasks (e.g., Astur et al. 2004;Collins and Kimura 1997;McCormick et al. 2007). Such findings are not unique to North American samples, with gender differences also reported in students in Germany (Quaiser-Pohl et al. 2006;Titze et al. 2008), Spain (Contreras et al. 2001) and the United Kingdom (Rahman et al. 2005). ...
Article
Although reports that men and women differ in spatial ability are common, recent research examining stress effects on spatial navigation have not included analyses of gender differences. The current study investigated cue perception and mental rotation after an acute cold-water hand immersion stress in 156 undergraduates from the western United States. Gender differences were observed in spatial performance and spatial anxiety. Discriminant analysis revealed that distal gradient cue identification and mental rotation reaction times as well as spatial anxiety differed among men and women exposed to the acute stress and their warm-water hand immersion controls. These results indicate that stress differentially alters spatial performance in men and women, and underscores the importance of assessing gender differences when examining spatial ability. KeywordsGender differences–Spatial perception–Mental rotation–Cold-pressor stress–Distal cue–Proximal cue
... Keine Unterschiede zeigten sich jedoch in der Anzahl der vergessenen Objekte. Aus Navigationsaufgaben ist bekannt, dass Frauen bei dual-task Aufgaben linguistische Strategien anwenden, die möglicherweise eine größere Speicherkapazität des Arbeitsgedächtnisses oder eine bessere Verarbeitung verbalen Materials zulassen(Saucier, Bowman & Elias, 2003). Dass Frauen zudem eine signifikant bessere Leistung im verbalen Gedächtnis als Männer zeigen(Chipman & Kimura, 1998), fand sich auch in unserer Studie. ...
Thesis
Das aktuelle Modell zur Pathophysiologie der Zwangserkrankung (OCD) geht von fronto-striatalen Dysfunktionen aus. Damit werden Beeinträchtigungen im prozeduralen Lernen, das anhand der Serial Reaction Time Task (SRTT) erfasst werden kann, in Verbindung gebracht. Die Befunde zu Defiziten von OCD-Patienten in der SRTT sind widersprüchlich, was auf Unterschiede im methodischen Vorgehen sowie die zusätzliche Auslastung des Arbeitsgedächtnisses durch die Vorgabe einer Gedächtnisaufgabe zurückgeführt wird. Weiterhin ist unklar, ob die vermutete fronto-striatale Dysfunktion und die Defizite im prozeduralen Lernen kennzeichnend für OCD sind oder auch bei anderen Störungsbildern auftreten. Die prozedurale Lernleistung von OCD-Patienten wurde mit der Lernleistung von gesunden Probanden, Patienten mit einer Angststörung und Patienten mit einer Depression verglichen. Weiterhin wurde die prozedurale Lernleistung unter der Vorgabe der SRTT alleine (single-task) und bei gleichzeitiger Vorgabe einer Gedächtnisaufgabe (dual-task) untersucht. OCD-Patienten zeigten im Vergleich zu gesunden Probanden Defizite im prozeduralen Lernen – sowohl unter der single-task als auch unter der dual-task Bedingung. Im Vergleich zu Patienten mit einer Angststörung zeigte sich lediglich in der dual-task Bedingung eine tendenzielle Beeinträchtigung der OCD-Patienten. Keine Unterschiede ergaben sich in der prozeduralen Lernleistung zwischen OCD-Patienten und Patienten mit einer Depression. Die stärkste Beeinträchtigung der prozeduralen Lernleistung in den verschiedenen Symptomdimensionen (Kontrolle, Waschen, Symmetrie, Horten) der OCD zeigte sich in der Dimension Horten. Außerdem waren die Defizite im prozeduralen Lernen stärker bei Patienten mit einem früheren Beginn der Zwangsstörung ausgeprägt. Die Befunde stehen im Einklang mit bisherigen Ergebnissen, wonach bei OCD eine Beeinträchtigung im prozeduralen Lernen vorliegt, was für die Annahme einer fronto-striatalen Dysfunktion bei OCD spricht.
... The authors suggested that there is a systematic difference in the ability to use these two types of spatial information. Subsequent research (Saucier, Bowman, & Elias, 2003) has found that women rely on linguistic information more than men when navigating, regardless of the type of instruction. Dabbs et al. (1998) suggested that the different strategies result from dimorphic exploration and encoding of spatial information by men and women. ...
Article
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Rats were trained in a triangular-shaped pool to find a hidden platform, whose location was defined in terms of two sources of information, a landmark outside the pool and a particular corner of the pool. Subsequent test trials without the platform pitted these two sources of information against one another. This test revealed a clear sex difference. Females spent more time in an area of the pool that corresponded to the landmark, whereas males spent more time in the distinctive corner of the pool even though further tests revealed that both sexes had learned about the two sources of information by presenting cues individually. The results agree with the claim that males and females use different types of information in spatial navigation.
... Therefore, it is still unclear whether the gender stereotype for multitasking is consistent with actual multitasking performance differences. Moreover, the low number of studies on gender effects and multitasking performance have produced inconsistent outcomes in itself: while some studies provided evidence for a gender difference with tendencies of advanced multitasking performance in men (McGowan and Duka, 2000), advanced performance in women (Medland et al., 2002) or mixed results (Saucier et al., 2003;Stoet et al., 2013), others have reported no gender differences at all (Seth-Smith et al., 1989). Recently, Mäntylä (2013) supported the view that women and men are equally good at coping with a multitasking situation including combinations of monitoring and working-memory updating tasks after controlling for spatial abilities (Strayer et al., 2013). ...
Article
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In the present study, we investigated discrepancies between two components of stereotyping by means of the popular notion that women are better at multitasking behaviors: the cognitive structure in individuals (personal belief) and the perceived consensus regarding certain beliefs (perceived belief of groups). With focus on this notion, we examined whether there was empirical evidence for the stereotype's existence and whether and how it was shared among different age groups. Data were collected from 241 young (n = 129) and older (n = 112) German individuals. The reported perceptions of gender effects at multitasking were substantial and thus demonstrated the existence of its stereotype. Importantly, in young and older adults, this stereotype existed in the perception of attributed characteristics by members of a collective (perceived belief of groups). When contrasting this perceived belief of groups and the personal belief, older adults showed a similar level of conformation of the gender stereotype while young adults were able to differentiate between these perspectives. Thus, young adults showed a discrepancy between the stereotype's components cognitive structure in individuals and perceived consensus regarding certain beliefs.
... Moreover, as a marker of gait stability, stride-to-stride variability in gait speed is a greater predictor of falling among community-ambulating older persons than other gait parameters or static balance measures (Maki, 1997). Although dual task paradigms have been used to study gender differences in various human functions such as navigation strategies (Saucier, Bowman, & Elias, 2003), object location memory (Postma, Izendoorn, & De Haan, 1998), language reception and production (Seth-Smith, Ashton, & McFarland, 1989), and even in understanding laterality of brain hemisphere organization (Hiscock, Perachio, & Inch, 2001), gender differences in gait under dual task walking paradigms have not been studied. Examining whether gait performance differs between older men and women during dual task walking may therefore provide insight into falls mechanisms. ...
Article
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Although attention-dividing dual tasks hinder gait performance in older persons, gender differences in gait have not been examined. The purpose of this study was to examine whether gait performance differs between older men and women during dual task walking. A total of 44 healthy adults (20 men and 24 women) aged 65 years or older participated in the study. Participants walked under normal and dual task (backward spelling) conditions at self-selected speeds. Mean gait speed and stride-to-stride variability in gait speed were quantified with GAITRite( ®) instrumentation. Whereas gait speed decreased and variability in gait speed increased in both groups during dual task walking, men walked with greater variability during dual task walking than did women. The magnitude of the increase in variability in gait speed observed in men indicates that stride-to-stride variability in gait speed during dual task walking requires more investigation as a potential risk factor for falls in older men.
... In our test women developed a tendency to visit a capacity to create mental maps [18,22,31]. Geometrical is more adequate than landmark information since information about distances and spatial relationships was omitted in the latter ones [43,44]. This could be the reason why women had a tendency to be more disperse than men after the change of the spatial location was produced ( Figure 1A). ...
... Although dual task paradigms have been used to study gender differences in various human functions such as navigation strategies (Saucier, Bowman, & Elias, 2003), and object location memory (Postma, Izendoorn, & De Haan, 1998) nor our own studies (see Figure 2) were able to identify gender-related differences regardless of the motor or cognitive difficulties of the tasks. ...
... Male reliance on cardinal/Euclidean information and female preference for landmarks is well documented (MacFadden, Elias, & Saucier, 2003;Saucier, Bowman, & Elias, 2003;Saucier et al., 2002;Galea & Kimura, 1993;Dabbs, Chang, Strong, & Milun, 1998;Huynh, Doherty, & Sharpe, 2010). An evolutionary explanation has been offered to explain the difference between the sexes in navigation and map reading tasks. ...
Thesis
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Imagine the following scenario: you’re at an unfamiliar location and you need to catch the bus to get home, however, you don’t know where the bus stop is. What do you do? In the modern world, the typical solution would be to open a map application on your smartphone and use it to determine the best route to your destination. Software developers are constantly improving mapping software with new features and design overhauls, but it is important to take a step back and ask how these factors might affect our ability to learn the information being presented. Are there cognitive factors that may help, or hinder, our ability to learn digital maps? A map reading experiment was devised to test the effect of cognitive load on map learning (Experiment 1). Participants learnt routes and landmarks under both low and high cognitive load. Our results show that high cognitive load hinders males’ ability to learn landmarks, while it hinders females’ ability to learn routes. A second experiment was conducted to determine the robustness of this effect. Map task difficulty was increased and our results show that the original 3-way interaction disappears when the demand on working memory becomes too high. Overall, our findings are in line with the existing literature on sex differences in map reading, and also indicates that 1) cognitive load plays a role in that relationship, and 2) a threshold exists for the effect once task difficulty is increased.
... Therefore, it is still unclear whether the gender stereotype for multitasking is consistent with actual multitasking performance differences. Moreover, the low number of studies on gender effects and multitasking performance have produced inconsistent outcomes in itself: while some studies provided evidence for a gender difference with tendencies of advanced multitasking performance in men (McGowan & Duka 2000), advanced performance in women (Medland, Geffen, & McFarland, 2002) or mixed results (Saucier, Bowman, & Elias, 2003;Stoet et al., 2013), others have reported no gender differences at all (Seth-Smith, Ashton, & McFarland, 1989). Recently, Mäntylä (2013) supported the view that women and men are equally good at coping with a multitasking situation including combinations of monitoring and workingmemory updating tasks after controlling for spatial abilities (Strayer et al., 2013). ...
Article
In the present study, we investigated discrepancies between two components of stereotyping by means of the popular notion that women are better at multitasking behaviors: the cognitive structure in individuals (personal belief) and the perceived consensus regarding certain beliefs (perceived belief of groups). With focus on this notion, we examined whether there was empirical evidence for the stereotype's existence and whether and how it was shared among different age groups. Data were collected from 241 young (n = 129) and older (n = 112) German individuals. The reported perceptions of gender effects at multitasking were substantial and thus demonstrated the existence of its stereotype. Importantly, in young and older adults, this stereotype existed in the perception of attributed characteristics by members of a collective (perceived belief of groups). When contrasting this perceived belief of groups and the personal belief, older adults showed a similar level of conformation of the gender stereotype while young adults were able to differentiate between these perspectives. Thus, young adults showed a discrepancy between the stereotype's components cognitive structure in individuals and perceived consensus regarding certain beliefs.
... In other words, cognitive maps are largely dependent on the employed navigational strategies. Experienced navigators are usually better (Hegarty et al., 2006) since they employ more diverse strategies (Kato and Takeuchi, 2003;Blajenkova et al., 2005), and they are more flexible concerning the strategy to be adopted (Saucier et al., 2003). O'keefe and Nadel (1978) identified different strategies in the behavior of rats while exploring the environment in a Morris water maze. ...
Article
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In congenital blindness (CB), tactile, and auditory information can be reinterpreted by the brain to compensate for visual information through mechanisms of brain plasticity triggered by training. Visual deprivation does not cause a cognitive spatial deficit since blind people are able to acquire spatial knowledge about the environment. However, this spatial competence takes longer to achieve but is eventually reached through training-induced plasticity. Congenitally blind individuals can further improve their spatial skills with the extensive use of sensory substitution devices (SSDs), either visual-to-tactile or visual-to-auditory. Using a combination of functional and anatomical neuroimaging techniques, our recent work has demonstrated the impact of spatial training with both visual to tactile and visual to auditory SSDs on brain plasticity, cortical processing, and the achievement of certain forms of spatial competence. The comparison of performances between CB and sighted people using several different sensory substitution devices in perceptual and sensory-motor tasks uncovered the striking ability of the brain to rewire itself during perceptual learning and to interpret novel sensory information even during adulthood. We discuss here the implications of these findings for helping blind people in navigation tasks and to increase their accessibility to both real and virtual environments.
... Neuroimaging studies found that males and females used different brain regions in spatial tasks, and hence different strategies for spatial processing (Gr€ on, Wunderlich, Spitzer, Tomczak, & Riepe, 2000;Hugdahl et al., 2006). Indeed, men tend to rely more on geometric information in navigation tasks, while women rely more on landmarks (Saucier, Bowman, & Elias, 2003). Males are also more likely than females to use (Geary, Saults, Liu, & Hoard, 2000), and benefit from (Gallagher, Levin, & Cahalan, 2002, see a review by Coluccia & Louse, 2004), the spatial imagery strategy, whereas females are more likely to use language-dependent strategies, such as route strategies, to solve spatial problems. ...
Article
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This study recruited kindergarteners and first graders to investigate gender and grade differences in semantic and spatial processing of number magnitude. Results based on the Bayesian statistics showed that (1) there was extreme evidence in favour of grade differences in both semantic processing and spatial processing; (2) there were no gender differences in semantic processing; and (3) boys developed earlier than girls in spatial processing of numbers, especially for the more difficult task. These results are discussed in terms of gender differences in cognitive mechanisms underlying semantic and spatial processing of number magnitude.
... This is consistent with reports about memory for the object location, in which women have been found to be more proficient than men, mainly due to a verbal encoding of the information (Lawton, 2010). Furthermore, women, but not men, show the disrupted navigation when engaged in a concurrent articulation task, possibly due to interference with verbal encoding of landmarks (Saucier, Bowman, & Elias, 2003). Verbal encoding strategies could be less effective in tasks tapping on the active visuo-spatial working memory processing, than the passive one, due to the increased load of the verbal information to be retained. ...
Article
We investigated whether the gender differences in working memory are linked to the nature of the stimuli (verbal vs. visuo-spatial) or to the type of processing (active vs. passive). With this aim, we administered two well-known tests: Corsi Block-tapping test (CBT) and the Digit span (DS) using two versions: forward (fCBT and fDS) and backward (bCBT and bDS). During the forward processing (fCBT and fDS), subjects being required to repeat stimuli in the same order they are presented, passive working memory is assessed. Otherwise, during the backward processing (bCBT and bDS), subjects being required repeating stimuli in an order opposite to that of presentation, active working memory is assessed. A total of 208 college students (104 women) were assessed. We found a gender effect on fCBT and bCBT, but not on fDS and bDS, with men outperforming women. The results from the present study support previous findings in which the presence of gender differences emerged in visuo-spatial working memory, that is, when verbal encoding is less efficacious with respect to other strategies. Failing in finding the opposite trend in fDS and bDS, that is, women performing better than men on these tasks, previously documented, may be due to the fact that we selected a sample of young subjects with the same educational level. Indeed, gender differences in verbal working memory have been reported especially for low level of education. Furthermore, our results suggest that such differences are more related to the type of material (verbal vs. visuo-spatial) more than to the type of processing (active vs. passive). This last finding supports the idea that when age and educational level are well matched among sexes, differences due to the stimuli processing disappear.
... Although dual task paradigms have been used to study gender differences in various human functions such as navigation strategies (Saucier, Bowman, & Elias, 2003), and object location memory (Postma, Izendoorn, & De Haan, 1998) nor our own studies (see Figure 2) were able to identify gender-related differences regardless of the motor or cognitive difficulties of the tasks. ...
Chapter
In this chapter we first review cross-sectional studies using the dual-task approach in children and adolescents, particularly in the areas of gait and postural stability. Second, we will pre-sent an integrative framework for the interaction of cognition, motor performance, and life-course factors.
... Naming landmarks could have introduced verbal processing into the processing of spatial information, which might have drawn upon cognitive skills that individuals with poor SOD are not particularly poor at. Support for this idea comes from dual-task paradigms in which verbal tasks interfere with aspects of landmark, route, and survey knowledge (Labate, Pazzaglia, & Hegarty, 2014;Saucier, Bowman, & Elias, 2003;Wen, Ishikawa, & Sato, 2011). In order to address this issue, the current experiment used eight landmarks along a route and the experimenter did not associate the landmark with verbal labels. ...
Article
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People’s impression of their own “sense-of-direction” (SOD) is related to their ability to effectively find their way through environments, such as neighborhoods and cities, but is also related to the speed and accuracy with which they learn new environments. In the current literature, it is unclear whether the cognitive skills underlying SOD require intentional cognitive effort to produce accurate knowledge of a new environment. The cognitive skills underlying SOD could exert their influence automatically—without conscious intention—or they might need to be intentionally and effortfully applied. Determining the intentionality of acquiring environmental spatial knowledge would shed light on whether individuals with a poor SOD can be trained to use the skill set of an individual with good SOD, thereby improving their wayfinding and spatial learning. Therefore, this research investigates the accuracy of spatial knowledge acquisition during a walk through a previously unfamiliar neighborhood by individuals with differing levels of self-assessed SOD, as a function of whether their spatial learning was intentional or incidental. After walking a route through the neighborhood, participants completed landmark, route, and survey knowledge tasks. SOD was related to the accuracy of acquired spatial knowledge, as has been found previously. However, learning intentionality did not affect spatial knowledge acquisition, neither as a main effect nor in interaction with SOD. This research reveals that while the accuracy of spatial knowledge acquired via direct travel through an environment is validly measured by self-reported SOD, the spatial skills behind a good SOD appear to operate with or without intentional application. Keywords: Spatial cognition, Spatial knowledge acquisition, Sense-of-direction, Intentional and incidental learning
... Use of the allocentric perspective is frequently more challenging because it involves visualising the scene independent of the observer and mentally rotating map information to correspond with one's current location. Individuals tend to have one dominant frame of reference that they use to perform spatial tasks (Saucier, Bowman and Elias, 2003). However, those with a poor sense of direction (PSD) typically use the egocentric perspective and have great difficulty with cardinal headings and map rotations. ...
Article
Humans use different spatial reference frames that impact how they interact with displays and perform everyday spatial tasks. Switching visual attention between a distant or extrapersonal reference frame and a near or peripersonal frame is more effortful than requires switching within a given frame. However, much less is known about auditory spatial attention. In this study, 177 listeners identified auditory locations in rapid succession within and across peripersonal and extrapersonal regions of space (ROS). Participants responded faster when stimuli were moving towards them as long as stimuli were within the same ROS; but, not when the stimuli crossed ROS. Further, individuals with a poor sense of direction were more sensitive to direction of travel and responded disproportionally slower to stimuli that seemed to be moving away rather than towards them. Those with a good sense of direction responded equally fast to both directions. Implications of these findings for performance with complex auditory displays are discussed.
Article
Disoriented men and women were trained to search for a goal hidden in front of one of four objects forming a rectangular-shaped array. The angular properties of these objects (either 50° or 75°) served as local geometric cues and the rectangular shape of the array served as global geometric cues. Upon successful completion of training, transformation tests were conducted during which either the local angle cues were removed and the global geometry was preserved (Global Cues test) or the local angles were preserved and the global geometry was removed (Local Cues test). A Cue Conflict test was also conducted which placed the local geometry in direct competition with the global geometry for control of search behavior. Results from testing showed that neither men nor women could successfully use only the global geometric cues provided by the shape of the array to reorient. Analyses of sex differences for the use of local cues revealed that men showed clear evidence that they had successfully encoded the local angular cues whereas women did not. Furthermore, the size of the training angle may have affected the encoding of local cues.
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The abilities of males and females to make spatial inferences were compared. Spatial inference is concerned with the ability to work out new spatial information from memory. In two experiments, participants had to study line drawings depicting shapes linked either by straight or meandering lines. Afterwards, they had to remember the straight-line distances or to infer the straight-line distances. Several spatial abilities were also assessed: perceptual discrimination, mental rotation, and visuo-spatial working memory span. The results showed that males outperformed females in spatial inference and mental rotation. Experiment 2 extended the study to old people. The results replicated and clarified those obtained in Experiment 1. Spatial inference and mental rotation showed age-related and gender-related differences; in addition, age reduced the visuo-spatial memory span. Overall, the findings suggest that gender differences favouring males are maximised with tasks requiring active processing and strategic control of metric information.
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When searching for a hidden goal, search patterns are often defined according to one of two main search strategies: an absolute strategy, which usually involves searching at a fixed learned distance and direction from a particular reference point, or a relational strategy, which involves searching at a point that maintains the relationship between two or more other points. Past research has shown that humans tend to prefer a relational strategy whereas most non-humans prefer an absolute strategy. However, recent research (Hartley et al., 2004) used a simulated 3D environment to demonstrate that proximity to a boundary affects strategy. In particular, when searching close to an edge, human participants were more likely to use an absolute strategy whereas when searching at a central location, participants were more likely to use a relational strategy. The current studies extend the findings of Hartley et al. Experiment 1 showed that adult humans use different strategies based on the goal's proximity to the edge of a search space, and that strategies differed between males and females. Experiment 2 suggested that children also use different strategies based on the goal's proximity to a boundary, and that some goal locations may be harder to learn than others. Taken together, our results show that search strategies are flexible and context-specific.
Conference Paper
In this paper we report results of an experiment that investigates the effects of mobile pedestrian navigation systems on the development of route and survey knowledge acquired by the users. In the experiment directions were presented incrementally step-by-step in different modalities (i.e. audio, graph- ics) and through different media (PDA, clip-on display). The experiment has been carried out in the field in a Wizard-of-Oz like study. Results show that as expected all subjects had problems in building up survey knowledge of the en- vironment. In contrast, route knowledge was learned much better. We also ob- served a slight gender effect showing that women had an advantage of a visual presentation condition, whereas for men the presentation mode didn't matter. Finally, we discuss some implications on the design of pedestrian navigation systems.
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We investigated how human adults orient in enclosed virtual environments, when discrete landmark information is not available and participants have to rely on geometric and featural information on the environmental surfaces. In contrast to earlier studies, where, for women, the featural information from discrete landmarks overshadowed the encoding of the geometric information, Experiment 1 showed that when featural information is conjoined with the environmental surfaces, men and women encoded both types of information. Experiment 2 showed that, although both types of information are encoded, performance in locating a goal position is better if it is close to a geometrically or featurally distinct location. Furthermore, although features are relied upon more strongly than geometry, initial experience with an environment influences the relative weighting of featural and geometric cues. Taken together, these results show that human adults use a flexible strategy for encoding spatial information.
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As a consequence of various situational and personal factors, programmers use a variety of styles when performing software development and maintenance tasks. In this paper, we develop a contextual framework that links situational, task-oriented, and individual factors to a set of traits. These traits are expressed as behavioural modifiers, and thus, influence one's performance of tasks such as computer programming, as well as influencing the skills upon which programming is based (e.g., problem solving, planning). To demonstrate the use of the framework, we examine how risk-tolerance is influenced by contextual factors and show how this trait influences programming style. We also document some preliminary components of programming style.
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A female advantage in object recall is assumed to derive from an adaptation to gathering/foraging. Support for the Gathering Hypothesis has relied upon stimuli and methodologies that lack ecological validity. We report two studies in which object recognition and object location memory were addressed using real plants within naturalistic arrays. In the first, females were significantly quicker than males at finding specific plants in some small arrays, and they made significantly fewer mistakes in a larger array. Next, females also located plants in a large and complex array significantly faster than males. We thus find some support for the Gathering Hypothesis using ecologically valid methods.
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The incidence of falls rises sharply with age (1), and falls are now the leading cause of disability among older adults (2,3). Falls in older individuals are associated with severe outcomes, such as fractures and head injuries (4,5), as well as significant declines in adaptive functioning and immobility (6). Characterization and further understanding of falls risk factors, therefore, are important for the development of effective interventions to maintain adaptive independence in older adults (7).
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An auditory spatial Stroop paradigm was used to examine the effects of semantic and spatial audio cue conflict on accuracy and response time. Participants responded to either the semantic meaning or the spatial location of a directional word, which was either congruent (i.e. the word “right” being presented from the right) or incongruent (i.e. the word “right” being presented from the left). Navigational strategy was also assessed to determine if individual differences on this measure could affect responses to semantic or location information. An interaction between task type and navigational strategy indicated that people who preferred a verbal strategy responded faster to semantic content and people who preferred a spatial strategy responded faster to location information. Implications of these results are discussed in terms of the design of collision avoidance systems.
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This study examined how college students give directions from maps, either with maps perceptually available, or after maps had been memorized. Six aspects of direction giving were coded: use of landmarks, use of relational terms, use of cardinal directions, use of mileage estimates, and frequency of omission and commission errors. In accord with predictions, males used more mileage estimates and cardinal directions than did females and made fewer errors. Use of cardinal directions and mileage estimates were rarer, in relation to opportunities to use them, than use of landmarks and relational terms. Correlations among the dependent variables suggested that use of relational terms and use of cardinal directions may trade off, with speakers using one or the other but not both. Results are discussed in the context of the distinction between competence and stylistic preference.
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When navigating, women typically focus on landmarks within the environment, whereas men tend to focus on the Euclidean properties of the environment. However, it is unclear whether these observed differences in navigational skill result from disparate strategies or disparate ability. To remove this confound, the present study required participants to follow either landmark- or Euclidean-based instructions during a navigation task (either in the real-world or on paper). Men performed best when using Euclidean information, whereas women performed best when using landmark information, suggesting a dimorphic capacity to use these 2 types of spatial information. Further, a significant correlation was observed between the mental rotation task and the ability to use Euclidean information, but not the ability to use landmark information.
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This study used computer-generated (“virtual”) mazes to investigate sex differences in the efficiency of spatial route learning in humans. Correlations between maze performance and traditional psychometric measures of spatial ability also were examined. Male and female subjects completed a total of five learning trials on each of two spatial mazes and completed a battery of spatial and verbal cognitive tests. As well as demonstrating the typical male advantage on psychometric measures of spatial performance, robust sex differences favoring males were found for both the time required to solve the mazes (d = 1.59) and the number of spatial memory errors committed ( d = 1.40). Highly significant positive correlations were obtained between scores on the paper and pencil tests and performance on the maze task. The results of the present study are consistent with results from studies in other mammalian species suggesting a male advantage for spatial navigation through a novel environment.
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Abstract Working memory may be defined as the system for the temporary maintenance and manipulation of information, necessary for the performance of such complex cognitive activities as comprehension, learning, and reasoning. Used in this sense, the term refers to an area of research that may or may not prove to be dependent on a single coherent system. Such a system is proposed within a broad and relatively speculative overview of human memory that emphasizes the putative role of working memory. This is followed by a brief account of a particular model of working memory, and a more detailed discussion of the way in which the various subcomponents of the model relate to other aspects of memory and cognition.
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Male and female subjects were tested for spatial ability and were shown slides depicting pairs of intersecting suburban routes. They saw each route either one or three times. Pairs of test slides were then presented, and measures were taken of the judged angle and direct distance between the two scenes as well as of the time taken to make the judgment. In addition, subjects made judgments of the travel distances and placed target locations on a sketch map of the route network. The crucial comparison was between those judgments made across routes and those made within routes. Because these did not differ, it appeared that network knowledge had been acquired during original learning. Males were more accurate than females in angular judgment and in travel distance estimation. Further analysis of the angular estimates, using circular statistics, illustrated a tendency for females to underestimate the wider angles. The correlations between the various measures of spatial ability were low, suggesting task specificity.
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Reports 2 cognitive mapping experiments. In Exp I, 18 male and 18 female college students were asked to draw maps of the campus that would aid someone unfamiliar with it. While both sexes included most major buildings on their maps, women included few connectors (roads, bridges, and paths) between the landmarks. Males showed a greater topographic sense of the campus, placing buildings more accurately with respect to spatial coordinates and showing more routes and connectors. Women, however, showed a more accurate sense of distance and were more accurate in their placement of buildings with respect to absolute distance. Exp II ( n = 50 males and 50 females) examined whether the omission of connectors by women was due to memory difficulties or to a lack of relevance of these items. Results of this study indicate that women did know some of the connectors and included them when specifically requested to do so. However, even when instructed to include connectors, females were consistently less accurate than were males. Thus, it appears that connectors, especially roads, are both less relevant and less memorable for women than for men. (21 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Sex differences in cognitive performance have been documented, women performing better on some phonological tasks and men on spatial tasks. An earlier fMRI study suggested sex differences in distributed brain activation during phonological processing, with bilateral activation seen in women while men showed primarily left-lateralized activation. This blood oxygen level-dependent fMRI study examined sex differences (14 men, 13 women) in activation for a spatial task (judgment of line orientation) compared to a verbal-reasoning task (analogies) that does not typically show sex differences. Task difficulty was manipulated. Hypothesized ROI-based analysis documented the expected left-lateralized changes for the verbal task in the inferior parietal and planum temporale regions in both men and women, but only men showed right-lateralized increase for the spatial task in these regions. Image-based analysis revealed a distributed network of cortical regions activated by the tasks, which consisted of the lateral frontal, medial frontal, mid-temporal, occipitoparietal, and occipital regions. The activation was more left lateralized for the verbal and more right for the spatial tasks, but men also showed some left activation for the spatial task, which was not seen in women. Increased task difficulty produced more distributed activation for the verbal and more circumscribed activation for the spatial task. The results suggest that failure to activate the appropriate hemisphere in regions directly involved in task performance may explain certain sex differences in performance. They also extend, for a spatial task, the principle that bilateral activation in a distributed cognitive system underlies sex differences in performance.
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Past literature on map-learning tasks has generally inferred that males tend to use a geometric strategy, and females tend to use a landmark strategy to learn a map. However, none of the studies have controlled for possible effects of extra-map superior visual memory in females on their memory for landmarks, and few have probed the actual relation between accuracy of performance and geometric or landmark knowledge. This study investigated sex differences in strategies for route-learning, controlling for visual-item memory. All subjects (48 female, 49 male) were required to learn a route to criterion through a novel map. As expected, males made fewer errors and took fewer trials to reach criterion. Females remembered more landmarks both on and off the route than males, and superior memory for landmarks was not accounted for by a superior visual-item memory. Males outperformed females in knowledge of the Euclidean properties of the map. However, despite the pronounced sex differences in knowledge retained from the maps, both males' and females' performance was related to spatial ability rather than to landmark recall.
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Previous research has sometimes claimed a female advantage on tasks of incidental memory. However, it is uncertain whether the sex difference was due to the incidental, or to the heavily verbal, nature of the tasks used, since women are known to have better verbal memory than men. The current study asked whether a female superiority would be found under less verbally-loaded conditions. No sex difference was found on two different pictorial tasks, both of which measured incidental memory for the content of complex scenes. In contrast, a female advantage was observed across both incidental and intentional conditions when easily labeled stimuli were used. This advantage was eliminated on the incidental condition when the effects of intentional verbal memory were controlled for. These findings strongly suggest that previous reports of a female advantage on incidental memory may have been due to the choice of verbalizable stimuli.
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A tremendous amount of experimental work has attempted to identify reliable behavioural predictors of cerebral lateralization. Preferred handedness has been the most popular predictor, but some recent reports suggest that preferred footedness may serve as a more accurate predictor of functional laterality, especially in the left-handed population. The present study sought to test this claim by selectively recruiting individuals with either 'crossed' lateral preferences (right-handed and left-footed or left-handed and right-footed) or 'uncrossed' lateral preferences (right-handed and right-footed or left-handed and left-footed). Lateralization of emotional perception was assessed with two blocks of the dichotic Emotional Words Test (EWT), and lateral preference for both handedness and footedness was assessed using self-report questionnaires. Ear advantage on the dichotic task varied significantly with preferred foot (P=0.003), but not with preferred hand. Cerebral lateralization may be more related to footedness than to other lateral preferences.
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The study of navigational ability in humans is often limited by the restricted availability and inconvenience of using large novel environments. In the present study we use a computer-generated virtual environment to study sex differences in human spatial navigation. Adult male and female participants navigated through a virtual water maze where both landmarks and room geometry were available as distal cues. Manipulation of environmental characteristics revealed that females rely predominantly on landmark information, while males more readily use both landmark and geometric information. We discuss these results as a possible link between recent human research reporting hippocampal activation in spatial tasks and animal work showing sex differences in both spatial ability and hippocampal development.
Are sex differences in navigation caused by sexually dimorphic strategies or by differences in the ability to use strategies?
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Cognitive style and cognitive maps: sex differences in representations of familiar terrain
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