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Leo Gugerty, Johnell Brooks; Strategies used to coordinate environmental and egocentric reference frames during cardinal direction judgments. Journal of Vision 2004;4(8):890. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/4.8.890.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Two studies investigated the types of strategies people use to coordinate the environmental reference frame (e.g., as represented by a map compass heading) with the egocentric reference frame while making cardinal direction judgments. While these judgments are both regularly used in navigation, people are generally poor at this task. In Experiment 1, verbal protocol analysis revealed the strategies used by 10 aircraft pilots in making cardinal direction judgments. Prior research on navigation tasks has pointed to mental rotation as the most common strategy. Our protocol analysis revealed that most participants used an analytical strategy not previously identified for other navigational tasks, heading referencing. This suggests that expert navigators often use an analytical strategy for cardinal direction judgments that involves little mental rotation. In Experiment 2, we investigated the heading referencing strategy by using a part-task performance technique. Novice participants (N=55) performed each of the three distinct subtasks of the heading referencing strategy in separate blocks of trials, and also performed the complete cardinal direction task. Participants speed and accuracy in performing the heading referencing subtasks was consistent with the hypothesis that they frequently used heading referencing while performing the complete cardinal direction task. As reference frame misalignment increased, accuracy decreased and response time increased for only one of the subtasks, suggesting that mental rotation may be used during this subtask of heading referencing. These studies provide evidence that the heading referencing strategy can be taught in several sequential subtasks, enabling users to master subtasks and then incorporate the subtasks into a meaningful whole. An understanding of the types of strategies used in making cardinal directions judgments could lead to improved interfaces and more effective training programs.
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