Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New study examines how rearing environment can alter navigation

16.08.2007
Many animals, including humans, frequently face the task of getting from one place to another. Although many navigational strategies exist, all vertebrate species readily use geometric cues; things such as walls and corners to determine direction within an enclosed space. Moreover, some species such as rats and human children are so influenced by these geometric cues that they often ignore more reliable features such as a distinctive object or colored wall.

This surprising reliance on geometry has led researchers to suggest the existence of a geometric module in the brain. However, since both humans and laboratory animals typically grow up in environments not entirely made up of right angles and straight lines, the prevalent use of geometry could reflect nurture rather than nature.

A new study published in the July issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, is the first attempt to examine whether early exposure to strong geometric cues influences navigational strategy.

Alisha Brown, a psychology graduate student at the University of Alberta, raised fish in either a rectangular tank, or a circular tank free of angular information. Brown and her colleagues later trained the fish to swim to one particular corner of a rectangular-shaped test arena with either all white walls (geometric information only), or one colored wall (featural and geometric information).

Their results demonstrated that the ability to use geometry to aid navigation did not depend on exposure to angular geometry during rearing: in the featureless test arena, fish from both rectangular and circular rearing tanks used geometry to navigate. However, when features were present to help navigation, the circle-reared fish were more likely to depend on the feature even if it meant choosing a geometrically incorrect corner.

The researchers concluded that the ability to learn about geometry for navigation seems to be innate, but the use of geometric cues to navigate is determined by both nature and nurture. When reared in the absence of rectangular geometric structures, fish show a greater dependence on features for navigational guidance.

Jesse Erwin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology offers fast peptide synthesis

28.02.2017 | Life Sciences

WSU research advances energy savings for oil, gas industries

28.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Who can find the fish that makes the best sound?

28.02.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>