Skip to main content

Spatial Reference Frame Proclivity Test


Description: This test was developed based on the ‘tunnel task’ (Gramann et al., 2005; 2006; 2010) to identify individual proclivities in using an egocentric or an allocentric spatial reference frame during a virtual navigation task.In this internet-based version of the task participants see passages through starfields that include heading changes in yaw (left or right) and pitch (up or down). Their task is to keep up orientation during the passages and, at the end of the passage to select one out of four homing vectors pointing back to the origin (homing task). The program is reduced to a ‘categorization’ version which allows the experimenter to run a short (approx. 20 min.) version for pre- or post-identification of individual reference frame proclivities that might influence participant’s behavior on other spatial tasks (Gramann, in press). Participants do not actively adjust the homing vector but have to select one out of four possible homing vectors representing egocentric and allocentric homing adjustments in yaw and pitch. Participants’ reference frame proclivity can be used as factor in any statistical design or simply to select extreme groups for further analyzes.

The extension of the tunnel to include heading changes in pitch further allows to differentiate a third navigation strategy. Besides the well-established strategy groups of Turners (preferentially using an egocentric reference frame during navigation) and Nonturners (preferentially using an allocentric reference frame during navigation), a third strategy group can be identified. This group is labelled ‘Switchers’ as they systematically seem to switch from one refrence frame to another dependent on the axis of heading changes (yaw vs. pitch) experienced during navigation (Gramann et al, in press).

We are interested in cultural differences in the distribution of reference frame proclivities and appreciate if you could point interested researchers and students to this internet test. If you are interested in using the task for your own experiments please let us know and we will provide you with further information.

Related Articles:  Gramann, K., Wing, S., Jung, T. -P., Viirre, E., & Riecke, B. E. (2012). Switching spatial reference frames for yaw and pitch navigation. Spatial Cognition & Computation: An Interdisciplinary Journal: Special Issue: Unusual Bodies, Uncommon Behaviors: Embodied Cognition and Individual Differences in Spatial Tasks, 12(2-3), 159-194.

Chiou, T. -C., Gramann, K., Ko, L. -W., Duann, J. -R., Jung, T. -P., & Lin, C. -T. (2012). Alpha modulation in parietal and retrosplenial cortex correlates with navigation performance. Psychophysiology, 49(1), 43-55.

Gramann, K. (2013). Embodiment of Spatial Reference Frames and Individual Differences in Reference Frame Proclivity. Spatial Cognition & Computation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 13(1), 1-25..

Gramann, K., Onton, J., Riccobon, D., Müller, H.J., Bardins, S., & Makeig, S. (2010). Human brain dynamics accompanying use of egocentric and allocentric referene frames during navigation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(12), 2836-2849.

Plank, M., Onton, J., Mueller, H.J., Makeig, S., & Gramann, K. (2010). Human EEG correlates of egocentric and allocentric path integration. In C. Hoelscher et al. (Eds.), Spatial Cognition VII – Lecture notes in artificial intelligence 6222 (pp. 191-206). Springer: Berlin.

Gramann, K., el Sharkawy, J. & Deubel, H. (2009). Eye-movements during navigation in a virtual tunnel. International Journal of Neuroscience, 119(10), 1755-1778.

Lin, C.T., Yang, F.S., Chiou, T.C., Ko, L.W., Duann, J.R., & Gramann, K. (2009). EEG-based spatial navigation estimation in a virtual reality driving environment. Proceedings of the Ninth IEEE International Conference on Bioinformatics and Bioengeneering, 435-438.

Seubert, J., Humphreys, G., Müller, H. J., & Gramann, K. (2008). Straight after the turn: The role of the parietal lobes for egocentric space processing. Neurocase, 14(2), 204-219.

Gramann, K., Müller, H.J., Schönebeck, B. & Debus, G. (2006). The neural basis of ego- and allocentric reference frames in spatial navigation: Evidence from spatio-temporal coupled current density reconstruction. Brain Research, 1118, 116-129.

Test Location:

Email the Lead Researcher:

Klaus Gramann: kgramann [at] uni-osnabrueck [dot] de