Université de Genève

Neuroscience center

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Group leader: Roland Maurer

Group name: Human Spatial Orientation

Affiliation: Psychology

Research activities:

image Most human activities imply some form of orientation and wayfinding. We are interested in the basic mechanisms of spatial orientation in humans, and, especially, in path integration, the process by which many animals, including humans, continuously keep track of where they are during an excursion by monitoring and processing the sensory signals generated by locomotion itself. Path integration plays an important role during the construction of the spatial representation of the environment (the "cognitive map"). We are investigating the development of path integration in children, how it is (together with other orientation mechanisms) affected by cerebral lesions, how it changes with old age, and how it interacts with spatial representations.

Selected Publications:

  • Maurer R. (1998). A connectionist model of path integration with and without a representation of distance to the starting-point. Psychobiology, 26 (1), 21-35
  • Etienne A.S., Maurer R., Georgakopoulos J., Griffin A. (1999) Dead reckoning (path integration), landmarks, and representation of space in a comparative perspective. In: Golledge R.G. (Ed.), Wayfinding Behavior: Cognitive mapping and other spatial processes, pp. 197-228. Baltimore MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
  • Etienne A.S., Maurer R., Boulens V., Levy A., Rowe T. (2004) Resetting the path integrator: A basic condition for route-based navigation. Journal of Experimental Biology, 207, 1491-1508.

Psychology and Education Sciences, FAPSE
Email: Roland (dot) Maurer (at) unige (dot) ch