Which way is the bookstore? A closer look at the judgments of relative directions task

Derek J. Huffman, Arne D. Ekstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We present a detailed analysis of a widely used assay in human spatial cognition, the judgments of relative direction (JRD) task. We conducted three experiments involving virtual navigation interspersed with the JRD task, and included confidence judgments and map drawing as additional metrics. We also present a technique for assessing the similarity of the cognitive representations underlying performance on the JRD and map-drawing tasks. Our results support the construct validity of the JRD task and its connection to allocentric representation. Additionally, we found that chance performance on the JRD task depends on the distribution of the angles of participants’ responses, rather than being constant and 90 degrees. Accordingly, we present a method for better determining chance performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-129
Number of pages37
JournalSpatial Cognition and Computation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 3 2019


  • Cognitive map
  • group-level nonparametric permutation test
  • judgments of relative direction (JRD)
  • map sketching
  • map-drawing task

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Which way is the bookstore? A closer look at the judgments of relative directions task'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this