Our spatial mental representations allow us to give refined descriptions of the environment in terms of the relative locations and distances between objects and landmarks. In this study, we investigated the effects of familiarity with the everyday environment, in terms of frequency of exploration and mode of transportation, on categorical and coordinate spatial relations, on young and elderly participants, controlling for socio-demographic factors. Participants were tested with a general anamnesis, a neuropsychological assessment, measures of explorations and the Landmark Positioning on a Map task. The results showed: (a) a modest difference in performance with categorical spatial relations; (b) a larger difference in coordinate spatial relations; (c) a significant moderating effect of age on the relationship between familiarity and spatial relations, with a stronger relation among the elderly than the young. Ceteris paribus, the role of direct experience with exploring their hometown on spatial mental representations appeared to be more important in the elderly than in the young. This advantage appears to make the elderly wiser and likely protects them from the detrimental effects of aging on spatial mental representations.

The road more travelled: The differential effects of spatial experience in young and elderly participants

Lopez A.
;
Tinella L.;Caffo A. O.;Bosco A.
2021

Abstract

Our spatial mental representations allow us to give refined descriptions of the environment in terms of the relative locations and distances between objects and landmarks. In this study, we investigated the effects of familiarity with the everyday environment, in terms of frequency of exploration and mode of transportation, on categorical and coordinate spatial relations, on young and elderly participants, controlling for socio-demographic factors. Participants were tested with a general anamnesis, a neuropsychological assessment, measures of explorations and the Landmark Positioning on a Map task. The results showed: (a) a modest difference in performance with categorical spatial relations; (b) a larger difference in coordinate spatial relations; (c) a significant moderating effect of age on the relationship between familiarity and spatial relations, with a stronger relation among the elderly than the young. Ceteris paribus, the role of direct experience with exploring their hometown on spatial mental representations appeared to be more important in the elderly than in the young. This advantage appears to make the elderly wiser and likely protects them from the detrimental effects of aging on spatial mental representations.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/371737
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