Short-range homing in the house mouse, Mus musculus: Stages in the learning of directions

Sofyan Alyan, Rudolf Jander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Citations (Scopus)


Female house mice readily learn to retrieve their pups 50 cm from the centre of an open arena and take them to their nest outside the arena's periphery. Experimental manipulation to reveal the spatial-orientation constituents of this behaviour disclosed thus submechanisms. Guided orientation, the direct response to objects. Path integration, the continuous monitoring of spatial displacements combined with computation of the locomotor vector to the starting point of the path. Landmark navigation, the movement by means of distal visual cues toward a goal not directly perceived. Learning to home passes through three stages. First, the exploring mouse is directly guided to objects of interest. Second, the homing mouse adds path integration; that is, it keeps a running, integrated spatial record derived from locomotion. Finally (circumstances permitting) the homing mouse links path integration with spatial references to distal visual landmarks. Sparse comparative evidence from other species of rodents suggests that such a system of short-range topographical orientation is universal among rodents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)285-298
Number of pages14
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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