Recent research has indicated that, particularly under conditions of inertial disorientation, mammals may be sensitive to landmark configuration geometry at the expense of individual featural information when locating hidden goals. The current study sought to establish whether landmark use could be demonstrated in 12–18-month-old infants with and without a disorientation procedure, and with geometrically ambiguous landmark configurations. A peekaboo paradigm was employed in which infants learned to anticipate a peekaboo event after a cue from two locations within a circular arena, followed by a test trial from a novel position in which no peekaboo occurred after the cue. In all conditions, an isosceles triangle arrangement of landmarks was used, with peekaboo occurring between the landmarks of one of the two equal “sides”, thus being geometrically ambiguous. In two conditions, the landmarks were distinctive, and in two further conditions, they were identical. In one of the distinctive conditions and one of the identical landmark conditions, infants underwent a disorientation procedure in between training and test trials. Only oriented infants with distinctive landmarks were successful in test trials, thus suggesting that infants are able to use the individual features of landmarks to locate a goal, but can only do so if oriented.
Lew was lead author, designed study, analysed data, wrote manuscript. Lew was PI on BBSRC grant (89/S15386) that funded the research. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Psychology