Publication 872

Demichelis A., Berthoz A. & Olivier G. (2012) Motor transfer from map ocular exploration to locomotion during spatial navigation from memory. Experimental Brain Research 10: 1000–1007. Fulltext at https://cepa.info/872
Spatial navigation from memory can rely on two different strategies: a mental simulation of a kinesthetic spatial navigation (egocentric route strategy) or visualspatial memory using a mental map (allocentric survey strategy). We hypothesized that a previously performed “oculomotor navigation” on a map could be used by the brain to perform a locomotor memory task. Participants were instructed to (1) learn a path on a map through a sequence of vertical and horizontal eyes movements and (2) walk on the slabs of a “magic carpet” to recall this path. The main results showed that the anisotropy of ocular movements (horizontal ones being more efficient than vertical ones) influenced performances of participants when they changed direction on the central slab of the magic carpet. These data suggest that, to find their way through locomotor space, subjects mentally repeated their past ocular exploration of the map, and this visuo-motor memory was used as a template for the locomotor performance. Relevance: The results clearly show that any spatial navigation from memory is a “first person” cognitive strategy.

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