Pointing to a visual target that disappears prior to movement requires the maintenance of a memory representation about the location of the target. It has been shown that a target can be stored egocentrically, allocentrically, or in both frames of reference simultaneously. The main goal of the present study was to compare the accuracy and kinematics of a pointing movement to a remembered target when egocentric, allocentric, or combined egocentric and allocentric coding was possible. The task was to localize, memorize, and reach to a remembered target. Condition 1 was the “no-context” condition and involved presenting the target in a completely dark environment (egocentric condition). For 2 other conditions, the target was presented within a visual context provided by an illuminated square. Condition 2 was the “stationary-context” condition and involved keeping the context at the same position during the whole trial (egocentric and/or allocentric coding). Condition 3 was a “moved-context” condition that involved shifting the context to a different location during the recall delay (allocentric coding). Movement accuracy and kinematics results were strikingly similar for the moved-context and stationary-context conditions. These results suggest that when both allocentric and egocentric coding are possible, an allocentric strategy is used.
M. Lemay and G.E. Stelmach are with the Motor Control Laboratory at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-0404. C.P. Bertram is with the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University College of the Fraser Valley, Abbotsford, BC Canada V2S 7M8.