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Wraga, M., Creem, S. H., & Proffitt, D. R. (2000). Updating displays after imagined object- and viewer rotations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 26(1), 151-168.

Six experiments assessed the relative advantage of spatial updating during imagined viewer- and object-rotations. In the first two, participants updated the locations of four objects in an array after making imagined rotations of themselves around the array (Viewer), or of the array itself (Array). Participants responded faster and made fewer errors in Viewer than in Array, while positioned outside (Experiment 1) or inside (Experiment 2) the array. In Experiment 3, an apparent Array advantage for updating objects rather than locations was attributable to the fact that participants had performed imagined translations of single objects rather than rotations of the entire array. Using the location updating task, superior performance in Viewer persisted even when the four-object array was collapsed into a single object (Experiment 4); however, rotations of an object with a highly familiar configuration (Experiment 5) improved Object rotation performance somewhat. A final experiment found near-Viewer levels of Object performance when the imagined rotation was accompanied by haptic information for the turning object. We attributed these findings to the relative differences in the way the spatial reference frames corresponding to each imagined rotation are transformed by the human cognitive system.

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