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Idiothetic literally means "self-proposition" (Greek derivation), and is used in navigation models (e.g., of a rat in a maze) to describe the use of self-motion cues, rather than allothetic, or external, cues such as landmarks, to determine position and movement. The word is sometimes also spelled "ideothetic" (e.g., Chen et al, 1994 ). Idiothetic cues include vestibular, optic flow and proprioception. Idiothetic cues are important for the type of navigation known as path integration in which subjects navigate purely using such self-motion cues.
The term idiothetic is also used in personality psychology. Idiothetic psychology of personality suggests that personality description follows idiographic principles, while personality development centres around nomothetic principles.
- Chen, LL (1994). "Head-direction cells in the rat posterior cortex. II. Contributions of visual and ideothetic information to the directional firing". Exp Brain Res. 101 (1): 24–34. doi:10.1007/bf00243213. PMID 7843299.
- Mittelstaedt, H. and Mittelstaedt, M.-L. (1973). "Mechanismen der orientierung ohne richtende aussenreize." Fortschr. Zool. 21:46–58.
- Mittelstaedt, M.-L. and Mittelstaedt, H. (1980). "Homing by path integration in a mammal." Naturwissenschaften 67:566–567.
- Lamiell, J. T. (1981). Toward an idiothetic psychology of personality. American Psychologist, 36(3), 276–289. http://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.36.3.276
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