Reference systems are intrinsic to an experience

Reference systems are intrinsic to an experience; you decide whether something is a tabletop or a landscape when you first encounter it by considering three aspects of the layout.

  1. Egocentric cues: their own experience of the layout as a body in space
  2. Intrinsic cues: characteristics of the objects in the experience and their relationships to each other
  3. Extrinsic cues: the experience’s relationship to larger framing devices


Kelly, Jonathan W., and Timothy P. McNamara. “Spatial Memories of Virtual Environments: How Egocentric Experience, Intrinsic Structure, and Extrinsic Structure Interact.” Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, vol. 15, no. 2, Apr. 2008, pp. 322–27.

Layouts have egocentric, extrinsic, and intrinsic cues - Egocentric Experience: Where am I - Extrinsic structure: Salient environmental features. Major city streets, axes, corners. - Intrinsic structure: how objects are arranged into rows and columns relative to each other p. 1