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Francesca C. Fortenbaugh, John C. Hicks, Lei Hao, Kathleen A. Turano; High-speed navigators: Using more than what meets the eye. Journal of Vision 2006;6(5):3. doi: 10.1167/6.5.3.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
This study employed a novel method to dissociate the use of external visual information and internal spatial representations in human navigation. Using a goal-directed walking task and gaze-contingent displays, 14 participants with normal vision navigated within an immersive virtual forest during which each participant's field of view (FOV) was restricted to 10, 20, or 40 deg in diameter. Participants were classified into two groups, good and poor navigators, based on a cluster analysis of their individual mean latencies, walk times, and path efficiencies in the 10 deg condition. Changes in performance measures across the three FOVs were calculated for the two groups. Significant interactions were found, with the overall performance of the poor navigators decreasing at a faster rate than the performance of the good navigators. Perceptual spans were also calculated for the two groups, and it was determined that the good navigators were able to complete the same task as effectively as the poor navigators with a smaller FOV. Collectively, these results support recent theories stating that good navigators rely on internal spatial representations to a greater extent than poor navigators do.
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