Allocentric and egocentric updating of spatial memories
It has been shown that animals are more likely to use visual cues (i.e., visual dominance) when other cues (such as the internal senses) are in conflict with them. For example, bees flying through a patterned tunnel with wind can correctly estimate the distance traveled, suggesting that optical flow information overrides the energy expenditure measure (Srinivasan et al., 1996). Judgments of the new spatial relationships after simulated movements often resemble the pattern with real movements, but with reduced efficiency (Wraga, Creem-Regehr, & Proffitt, 2004). These tasks involve judgments of spatial relationships after imagined movements (e.g., imagine oneself turning, translating, imagine an object rotating, etc.), with no sensory information about the movements. Spatial updating also has profound impact on spatial reasoning and spatial imagery. Physical movements consistent with spatial imaginations can facilitate performance, while inconsistent physical movements can lead to impairment (Presson & Montello, 1994). Thus it has constraints in its ability to provide accurate guidance for long-range navigation.
The advanced form of spatial updating keeps track of multiple targets in the environment and estimates their new relationship to the animal as it moves around (instead of just the origin alone). Then they make some movements, such as turning or traveling along a path. At the end of the movement, they report the location of these targets, which are now invisible and in new relationships to themselves. Between reality and imagination: When is spatial updating automatic? Spatial updating is usually studied using a target-localization test after some movements. In a typical spatial updating task, subjects learn the location of some targets at a starting place facing a particular direction.
There are several cognitive processes that are closely related to spatial updating, and sometimes treated as a special form of spatial updating.