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Strategy Generalization across Orientation Tasks: Testing a Computational Cognitive Model
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB MESA AZ WARFIGHTER READINESS RESEARCH DIVISION
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Humans use their spatial information processing abilities flexibly to facilitate problem solving and decision making in a variety of tasks. This article explores the question of whether a general strategy can be adapted for performing two different spatial orientation tasks by testing the predictions of a computational cognitive model. Human performance was measured on an orientation task requiring participants to identify the location of a target either on a map find-on-map or within an egocentric view of a space find-in-scene. A general strategy instantiated in a computational cognitive model of the find-on-map task, based on the results from Gunzelmann and Anderson 2006, was adapted to perform both tasks and used to generate performance predictions for a new study. The qualitative fit of the model to the human data supports the view that participants were able to tailor a general strategy to the requirements of particular spatial tasks. The quantitative differences between the predictions of the model and the performance of human participants in the new experiment expose individual differences in sample populations. The model provides a means of accounting for those differences and a framework for understanding how human spatial abilities are applied to naturalistic spatial tasks that involve reasoning with maps.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE