Selective advantage of climbers in spatial navigation tasks

Azzurra Ruggeri, Oana Stanciu, Christoph Völter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Many activities, from cooking a meal to climbing, entail–or at least benefit from–the planning of a number of actions before the first action can be executed. In this paper we explored the hypothesis that experienced climbers, because of their extensive training in visualising and mentally simulating the entire sequence of moves required to complete a route before they start climbing, may be more competent in planning ahead. We tested this hypothesis in two maze spatial-navigation tasks, arguably closer to the climbers’ embodied-planning experience, and one question-asking task, to further test the generalisability of their hypothesised advantage over non-climbers. We found that climbers were as accurate, but much faster than non-climbers at finding the correct path out of a maze, but did not outperform non-climbers in identifying the most informative question to ask. We discuss the role of different cognitive abilities and strategies that might underpin the climbers’ superior maze-navigation performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-445
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2024


  • Spatial navigation
  • climbing
  • embodied planning
  • maze
  • plan ahead


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