December 2022
Volume 22, Issue 14
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   December 2022
A Spatial Gist Phenomenon While Locomoting in an Immersive Virtual Environment
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Emily E. Tighe
    University of Utah
  • Morgan A. Saxon
    University of Utah
  • Phillip Fernberg
    Utah State University
  • Charisse N. Spencer
    Utah State University
  • Scott I. Johnson
    Utah State University
  • Sarah H. Creem-Regehr
    University of Utah
  • Jeanine K. Stefanucci
    University of Utah
  • Brent C. Chamberlain
    Utah State University
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  This project was funded by the Army Research Institute for Social and Behavioral Sciences under BAA W911NF-19-S-0006.
Journal of Vision December 2022, Vol.22, 3725. doi:
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      Emily E. Tighe, Morgan A. Saxon, Phillip Fernberg, Charisse N. Spencer, Scott I. Johnson, Sarah H. Creem-Regehr, Jeanine K. Stefanucci, Brent C. Chamberlain; A Spatial Gist Phenomenon While Locomoting in an Immersive Virtual Environment. Journal of Vision 2022;22(14):3725.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

  • Supplements

The gist, or meaning, assigned to a scene is influenced by the visual aspects of the environment and the gist of a 2D scene can be determined with a simple, quick exposure to a static image. Inspired by previous research by urban designers on imageability, design features, and perception in the built environment, we developed a modular urban block virtual world, consisting of 10 distinct architectures and densities. Our goal was to test whether and when viewers perceive a change in gist of 3D spaces while dynamically moving through them. We evaluated the degree to which altering architectural style, visual scale (building size), or both influenced individuals' perception of change in the gist of a 3D, immersive virtual environment. Participants (N = 50) were guided along a linear road through a sequence of 40 blocks (70-100 meters each), with each block having one of five architectural styles and either smaller or larger buildings. Participants indicated when they experienced a change in gist and the perceived magnitude of the change. We found perceived magnitude ratings were greater for changes in the combined features and architectural style alone compared to changes in visual scale alone. In addition, the likelihood of detecting a change was greatest when both style and visual scale changed together. Our findings suggest that people can experience changes in gist spatially in a dynamic immersive 3D virtual environment and provide a framework for future studies examining the concept of spatial gist. Further analysis of collected eye tracking data could provide insight into eye movements and their relationship to perceived change in gist.


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