Prioritized Spatial Updating in the Intrinsic Frame of Reference Academic Article uri icon


  • In order to maintain valid situation awareness, people need to update the spatial representations of their surroundings as objects, including themselves, move. The present study investigates the properties of spatial updating in the intrinsic frame of reference, where spatial relations are represented with respect to an external object (other than the viewer self) with an intrinsic reference direction. Three experiments were conducted using a task of direction pointing. It was found that given a relatively stable intrinsic reference direction, responses to a small number of salient objects were faster than responses to non-salient objects (Experiment 1 and Experiment 3). The salience effect disappeared when the intrinsic reference direction was no longer stable (Experiment 2). Furthermore, all three experiments revealed a type of orientation dependence similar to that found in egocentric spatial updating. Our results indicate that spatial updating in the intrinsic reference system can be easy only if a fixed reference direction is maintained and the number of objects that need to be tracked is limited. 2005, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

published proceedings

  • Spatial Cognition and Computation

author list (cited authors)

  • Wang, H., Sun, Y., Johnson, T. R., & Yuan, Y. e.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Wang, Hongbin||Sun, Yanlong||Johnson, Todd R||Yuan, Ye

publication date

  • January 2005