August 2010
Volume 10, Issue 7
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2010
The influence of external landmarks, the sun, and cast shadows on learning a wormhole environment
Author Affiliations
  • Jonathan Ericson
    Cognitive & Linguistic Sciences, Brown University
  • William Warren
    Cognitive & Linguistic Sciences, Brown University
Journal of Vision August 2010, Vol.10, 1057. doi:10.1167/10.7.1057
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      Jonathan Ericson, William Warren; The influence of external landmarks, the sun, and cast shadows on learning a wormhole environment. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):1057. doi: 10.1167/10.7.1057.

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Abstract

In previous research, we created a non-Euclidean hedge maze by introducing two “wormholes” that seamlessly transported participants between locations, by means of rotating the virtual environment. Participants relied on the topological graph structure (route knowledge) to navigate, and were unaware of the radical violations of global Euclidean structure (rips and folds in space). Here we provide more information about maze orientation by adding external landmarks, a sun, and cast shadows. Participants actively walk in a 40 x 40 ft. virtual environment while wearing a head-mounted display (63° H x 53° V), and head position is recorded with a sonic/inertial tracker (70 ms latency). Participants learn the locations of nine objects (places) by freely exploring the maze in one of three conditions: (1) a control condition with uniform lighting and no external landmarks, (2) a test condition in which the light source and external landmarks rotate with the maze, and (3) a test condition in which the light source and external landmarks remain fixed with respect to the laboratory. We then probe their spatial knowledge in each condition using a shortcut task, in which participants walk from Home to object A, the maze disappears, and they are instructed to walk directly to the remembered location of object B. If participants use the cast shadow and landmark information to detect the maze rotation, they may report violations and walk to the metric location of object B more frequently than in the control condition. If participants rely on the graph structure of the maze despite the additional orientation information, they should walk through a wormhole to the alternative target location, B1, as they do in the control condition. Acknowledgments: NSF BCS-0214383, BCS-0843940

Ericson, J. Warren, W. (2010). The influence of external landmarks, the sun, and cast shadows on learning a wormhole environment [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 10(7):1057, 1057a, http://www.journalofvision.org/content/10/7/1057, doi:10.1167/10.7.1057. [CrossRef]
Footnotes
 NSF BCS-0214383, BCS-0843940.
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