Exploration is a locomotor and scanning behavior accompanied by the acquisition of information that can be used for topographic orientation and homing. Our experiments demonstrate that the exploring house mouse (Mus musculus) learns the use of distal landmarks for short-range homing. However, mice that had no exploratory experience at all also learned how to use distal landmarks for homing while shuttling between two goals. In addition, exploration-based knowledge in itself appears to be weak or provisional. Whereas one straight line path integration is strong enough to override orientation by distal landmarks based on 1 day of exploration, prolonged straight line shuttling results in navigation by distal landmarks that is strong enough to override path integration based on prolonged straight line shuttling. We conclude that exploratory behavior by itself is sufficient, but not necessary, for learning the use of distal landmarks for navigation within the home range.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology