Toward a formal theory of flexible spatial behavior: Geometric category biases generalize across pointing and verbal response types

John P. Spencer, Vanessa R. Simmering, Anne R. Schutte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Three experiments tested whether geometric biases - biases away from perceived reference axes - reported in spatial recall tasks with pointing responses generalized to a recognition task that required a verbal response. Seven-year-olds and adults remembered the location of a dot within a rectangle and then either reproduced its location or verbally selected a matching choice dot from a set of colored options. Results demonstrated that geometric biases generalized to verbal responses; however, the spatial span of the choice set influenced performance as well. These data suggest that the same spatial memory process gives rise to both response types in this task. Simulations of a dynamic field model buttress this claim. More generally, these results challenge accounts that posit separate spatial systems for motor and verbal responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)473-490
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006


  • Modeling
  • Recall
  • Recognition
  • Spatial cognition
  • Working memory

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