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Hiroyuki Tsuda, Jun Saiki; Memorizing slope but not elevation facilitates navigation in a virtual environment. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1351. doi: 10.1167/14.10.1351.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous research indicates that environments with slopes and slanted terrain have the potential to provide several kinds of additional spatial cues, leading to improved navigational performance. However, what kind of cue is most important for that facilitation remains unclear and what types of memory representations are formed and successfully used in navigation is largely unknown. There could be at least two types of memory representation that can be used for navigation in environments with undulating terrain: global elevation knowledge and local memory of slopes. In the current experiment, we investigated which type of memory representation (elevation vs. slope) is useful in learning to navigate in a virtual environment by identifying correlation between memory performance and successful navigation. The experiment was conducted in a virtual environment with undulating terrain which contained eight landmarks connected with navigable streets. The experiment consisted of a learning phase followed by a navigation task and two memory tasks. In the learning phase, arrows were placed at the road junctions directing participants and they followed the route to learn the layout of the environment. In navigation task, participants performed a sequence of eight successive navigation trials and each navigation duration to reach the goal were measured. In elevation memory task, knowledge about the relative elevation of places in relation to each other were measured. In slope memory task, participants recalled the direction of each local slopes. We found no correlations between navigation duration and memory performance. However, when data were separately analysed according to participants' sense of direction (SOD) scores, high SOD group revealed a significant correlation between navigation and slope memory. This suggests that local scene memory of slopes are more useful than elevation knowledge in navigation, but only participants with high SOD can successfully utilize it.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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