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Jonathan Bakdash, Sally Linkenauger, Dennis Proffitt; Separating the two main components of active navigation for learning a virtual environment: Decision-making and control. Journal of Vision 2007;7(9):761. doi: 10.1167/7.9.761.
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Active navigation consists of two main components, decision-making and control. The current study examined the separate and combined roles for each of these components in learning the spatial layout of a virtual environment (VE). In the learning phase, participants were asked to learn the locations of targets in a virtual city environment. They navigated and learned virtual city environment on a display under one of three conditions (decision-making only, control only, and decision-making and control combined). During the test phase, knowledge of the environment was assessed by having participants point at the unseen targets in virtual reality.
In the decision-making only condition, participants decided where to go by giving verbal directions to the experimenter whom controlled movement through the VE. Based on the previous trajectory taken by a participant in the decision-making only condition, the experimenter gave directions to a matched participant in the control-only condition, telling them where to go. Therefore, the visual information in the decision-making and control conditions was comparable. In the combined condition, participants both decided where to go and had control of movement through the VE.
Preliminary results indicate that spatial knowledge was superior with decision-making only compared to control only. However,performance in the combined condition was similar to the decision-making condition. These findings suggest that decision-making, as a component of active navigation, is important in learning the spatial layout of a VE than control.
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