A multisensory approach to spatial updating: The case of mental rotations

Manuel Vidal, Alexandre Lehmann, Heinrich Bulthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Mental rotation is the capacity to predict the outcome of spatial relationships after a change in viewpoint. These changes arise either from the rotation of the test object array or from the rotation of the observer. Previous studies showed that the cognitive cost of mental rotations is reduced when viewpoint changes result from the observer's motion, which was explained by the spatial updating mechanism involved during self-motion. However, little is known about how various sensory cues available might contribute to the updating performance. We used a Virtual Reality setup in a series of experiments to investigate table-top mental rotations under different combinations of modalities among vision, body and audition. We found that mental rotation performance gradually improved when adding sensory cues to the moving observer (from None to Body or Vision and then to Body & Audition or Body & Vision), but that the processing time drops to the same level for any of the sensory contexts. These results are discussed in terms of an additive contribution when sensory modalities are co-activated to the spatial updating mechanism involved during self-motion. Interestingly, this multisensory approach can account for different findings reported in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-68
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Volume197
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jul 1
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Mental rotations
  • Multisensory
  • Spatial updating
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'A multisensory approach to spatial updating: The case of mental rotations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this