Spatial reorientation: Effects of verbal and spatial shadowing

Almut Hupbach, Oliver Hardt, Lynn Nadel, Veronique D. Bohbot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Spatially disoriented adults flexibly conjoin geometric information (macroscopic shape) and nongeometric information (e.g., the color of a wall) to re-establish their bearings. It has been proposed that non-geometric information is incorporated into a geometric frame of reference through the use of spatial language. Support for this assumption comes from dual-task studies in which participants failed to use non-geometric features when they shadowed a verbal message concurrent to the reorientation task. These studies were performed in small rectangular spaces. In contrast, our study was performed in a large square room. Experiment 1 showed that verbal shadowing did not disrupt non-geometric feature use in this environment. In Experiment 2, we found that a spatial shadowing task that required the encoding of frequently changing spatial directions impaired reorientation behavior. Our study shows that nongeometric information can be used for reorientation without recourse to linguistic processes, and suggests that the use of non-geometric features is dependent upon a spatial coding process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)213-226
Number of pages14
JournalSpatial Cognition and Computation
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2007


  • Geometric module
  • Spatial memory
  • Spatial orientation
  • Verbal shadowing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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