Restructuring the navigational field: individual predisposition towards field independence predicts preferred navigational strategy

Maddalena Boccia, Laura Piccardi, Adele D’Alessandro, Raffaella Nori, Cecilia Guariglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To successfully navigate within an environment, individuals have to organize the spatial information in terms of salient landmarks, paths and general layout of the navigational environment. They may differ in the strategy they adopt to orientate themselves, with some individuals preferring to use salient landmarks (landmark spatial style, L-SS), others preferring to plan routes or paths through an egocentric strategy in which landmarks are connected with each other (route spatial style, R-SS) and others still create a global map-like configuration of the environment regardless of their own position in the environment (survey spatial style, S-SS). Here, we assessed whether Field independence (FI), that is the extent to which the individual perceives part of a field as discrete from the surrounding field rather than embedded in the field, predicted the individual’s spatial style. We assessed the individual’s spatial style using the spatial cognitive style test (SCST) and measured FI using the group embedded figure test (GEFT). We found that FI predicted general spatial ability, with a higher level of FI being associated with better performances on the SCST. Also, Field-independent individuals showed a marked preference for an S-SS. These results suggest that a higher level of FI is associated with better performance on higher level spatial tasks (i.e. R-SS and S-SS) that is tasks requiring individuals to restructure the “navigational field” according to the navigational goal. The results also suggest that a higher level of FI makes individuals more prone to use a global and complex map-like representation of the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1741-1748
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Allocentric
  • Cognitive map
  • Cognitive style
  • Egocentric
  • Field dependence
  • Topographical orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Restructuring the navigational field: individual predisposition towards field independence predicts preferred navigational strategy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this