The extent to which individuals show evidence of an orientation-specific map image was assessed in three experiments. Experiment 1 used a simple path map as the stimulus. Experiment 2 used a more complex map of a real campus environment and allowed repeated exposure over a 4-week period. Experiment 3 used a scale model of the campus and repeated exposures. In all three experiments evidence was found for a subgroup that exhibited no evidence of an orientation-specific map image. Group averages masked the existence of this subgroup, and instead tended to be more reflective of a smaller subgroup showing strong evidence of orientation specificity. The results caution against overgeneralizing group averages in this area of spatial cognition research.
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