Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Yamamoto, Naohide

Subject Headings

Space perception -- Physiological aspects, Geographical perception -- Age factors, Map reading, Cognitive neuroscience -- Age factors, Brain -- Imaging, aging, spatial learning, navigation, map, ground level, aerial, route, survey, orientation, aerial with turns


Yamamoto and DeGirolamo (2012) found that increasing age has unequal effects of impairment on spatial learning dependent on the perspective in which an environment is learned. Further, the learned condition of ground-level perspective (first-person exploratory) showed greater decline in elderly participants than was found in aerial (map reading) conditions. These results supported previous research involving fMRI scans implicating the medial temporal lobe (MTL) role in exploratory navigation of novel environments and MRI scans indicating MTL atrophy with age. However, Yamamoto and DeGirolamo (2012) did not consider the effects of conducting the experiment with one condition being presented with changing orientation (ground-level) and the other condition having fixed orientation (aerial). Utilizing new research revealing the MTL's role in orientation processing, the present study reexamined Yamamoto and DeGirolamo (2012) findings with the introduction of the condition aerial-with-turns (map reading with changing orientation). The findings of this experiment suggest changing orientation in the learning condition has greater impact on elderly participants' performance of spatial learning tasks than that of the perspective in which the learning condition is in

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