In the present
study, we discovered a relationship between down-going and up-going route
preferences and selection of spatial reference. The participants were asked to
choose between a down-going route and an up-going route on a simplified map.
When they were asked to select the better route (Experiment 1), they preferred
the down-going route, although the two routes were the same shape and distance.
However, when the participants were asked to select the route that seemed
easier to remember and find, they favored up-going routes (Experiment 2). We
suggested that the contrary route preferences were caused by different
selections of spatial references. That is, the first instruction directed
participants’ attention to the configurational layout of the maps (i.e.,
promoted the allocentric reference) and induced the down-going route
preference, whereas the later instruction promoted egocentric navigating
strategies and induced the up-going route preferences. Furthermore, we asked
the participants to learn a down-going and an up-going route, then examined
their wayfinding and spatial memory performance (Experiment 3). The
participants found the goals more quickly when up-going routes were used, but
remembered the locations of landmarks more accurately when down-going routes
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