Spatial Navigation

Neural systems supporting spatial navigation have been extensively investigated in animals and humans. Despite consistency in brains regions implicated in navigation, restrictions imposed by static lab based imaging techniques in humans impose strict limits on our current understanding of real-world navigation. By definition, navigation in real-world environments is multifaceted, sensory perception of environmental features and self-motion information combine to establish orientation in space and guide navigation. From a theoretical perspective, how the brain integrates sensory environmental and self-motion information to support spatial navigation in naturalistic environments remains an open question. With recent developments in mobile technology, we are now in a position to assess real-world navigation, and while it is difficult to predict at this early stage exactly how adoption of this approach will advance knowledge of navigation in humans, it clearly has potential to provide valuable insights into the relationship between psychological, physical and environmental aspects of navigation.

Sports performance

In the high stakes world of International sport even the smallest change in performance can make the difference between success and failure. A great deal of research effort in the sporting domain has focused on physical factors associated with optimal performance, while cognitive factors contributing to performance outcomes have received much less attention. To date, cognitive research examining performance factors in athletes has had relatively little impact for sports professionals, largely due to a mismatch between lab tasks and real sporting activity. Performance at the highest level in sport is entirely contextual to the environment and execution of movement is fundamental. Applying mobile techniques in sports research has the potential elucidate links between psychological, physiological and environmental factors that influence performance outcomes. Tracking the performance of individual athletes in the field using multiple physiological measures will facilitate identification of commonalities and differences related to the acquisition and development of expertise.


Cognitive science has spent decades dissociating multiple forms of memory by employing simplified lab tasks to isolate and assess specific subsystems, for further theoretical progress we now need to move beyond this approach and look to the bigger picture, by assessing memory function under natural conditions. For example, episodic memory supports recognition of the details of complex real world experience, providing a continuous record of events embedded within spatial and temporal context. Despite the inherently complex nature of real events, the bulk of research to date examines recognition largely in absence of the contextual information that is known to be a defining characteristic of episodic memory. Gaining a better understanding of complex factors contributing to memory in real-world environments using a mobile approach will undoubtedly lead to significant theoretical advances.