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Kevin Barton, Colin Ellard; Finding your way: The influence of global spatial intelligibility and field-of-view on a wayfinding task. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):1125. doi: 10.1167/9.8.1125.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous work, derived mainly from the fields of architecture and urban planning, has shown that the global spatial configuration of an environment, known as its spatial intelligibility, can account for some aspects of wayfinding behavior and movement of traffic in constructed environments (Penn, Environment and Behavior, 2003). These studies have subsequently been used to argue that wayfinding is based largely on the use of simple heuristics which control route decisions at choice points. However, some recent studies suggest that manipulations which interfere with perceptual processing (Meilinger, Franz, & Bülthoff, Environment and Behaviour, 2008) are also capable of influencing wayfinding behavior, but the connection between such perceptual processes and heuristics based on global spatial configuration remain unclear. In the present study, participants were asked to navigate to a central landmark in a novel virtual environment, and then return to the starting position. We manipulated both spatial configuration (high intelligibility vs. low intelligibility) and available perceptual information (150° field-of-view vs. 60° field-of-view) between participants. An analysis of variance on the path, duration of navigation, and pausing and gaze behaviors revealed a significant main effect of intelligibility on both distance and duration of navigation. More interestingly, a significant main effect of field-of-view was found such that a wider field-of-view resulted in more varied gaze within intersections. Further, a significant interaction between intelligibility and field-of-view was found such that participants with constrained field-of-view would pause more frequently overall, more frequently in intersections, and for longer periods of time in the highly intelligible environments as compared to unintelligible environment. The reverse pattern was observed for the unconstrained field-of-view condition. These results clearly support the idea that both perceptual processing at choice points and the global organization of a spatial configuration influences the wayfinding process.
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