Welcome to Spetch's Comparative Spatial Cognition Lab
We investigate cognitive processes that are fundamentally important in the lives of many species, including humans. These include the ability to locate, remember, and navigate to important places and the ability to recognize objects and scenes. We investigate these and related processes in organisms ranging from invertebrates to humans.
Most of the research conducted in our lab concerns spatial cognition in pigeons and humans. We are investigating processes underlying pigeons' ability to locate hidden goals, using tasks conducted on the laboratory floor or on color monitors equipped with touch-sensitive frames. We conduct similar experiments with humans using touch-screen computers or virtual environments. We are particularly interested in how pigeons and humans use landmarks and environmental geometry to orient (determine which direction is which) and to remember and find goal locations.
We also conduct several other lines of research in collaboration with colleagues at the University of Alberta, and at other universities. Examples of recent or current collaborative projects include:
1) hiding and searching strategies of adult humans in real and virtual environments,
2) navigation in desert ants,
3) risky choice and gambling in humans,
4) use of global and local geometry for reorientation,
5) motion perception and object recognition in pigeons and humans, and
6) working memory for spatial location in adults and children.