Searching Imagined Environments

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Subjects read narratives describing directions of objects around a standing or reclining observer, who was periodically reoriented. RTs were measured to identify which object was currently located beyond the observer's head, feet, front, back, right, and left. When the observer was standing, head/feet RTs were fastest, followed by front/back and then right/left. For the reclining observer, front/back RTs were fastest, followed by head/feet and then right/left. The data support the spatial framework model, according to which space is conceptualized in terms of three axes whose accessibility depends on body asymmetries and the relation of the body to the world. The data allow rejection of the equiavailability model, according to which RTs to all directions are equal, and the mental transformation model, according to which RTs increase with angular disparity from front.

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