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  Geographic slant as a source of information in maze navigation

Mochnatzki, H., Steck, S., & Mallot, H. (1999). Geographic slant as a source of information in maze navigation. Poster presented at 2. Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK 1999), Tübingen, Germany.

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Mochnatzki, HF1, 2, Author           
Steck, SD1, 2, Author           
Mallot, HA1, 2, Author           
1Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497797              
2Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, Spemannstrasse 38, 72076 Tübingen, DE, ou_1497794              


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 Abstract: known to make extensive use of geographical slant for communication about spatial layout (Brown and Levinson, Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 3: 46-74, 1993). We have
investigated the role of geographic slant in a simple spatial memory task. The experimental environment is a modified version of the Hexatown virtual environment described by Gillner and Mallot (Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 10: 445-463, 1998). This environment
is a hexagonal grid of streets with landmarks placed in each angle between two streets. We used a version with 8 places and no loops. The whole environment could be
slanted by an angle of 4 degrees. Three slant conditions were used: “flat”: no slant; “slanted NW”: slant direction 30 degrees north west with respect to some arbitrarily chosen “north”; slanted NE: slant direction 30 degrees north east. Subjects could interact with the virtual environment by pedaling with force-feedback on a bicycle simulator (translation) or by hitting buttons (discrete rotations in 60 degree steps). The environment was simulated using a Silicon Graphics ONYX2 computer. Images were projected on a 180 degree screen. For details of the setup, see van Veen et al. (Future Generation Computer
Systems 14: 231-242, 1998).
Subjects explored the environment by searching 15 routes to various goals presented to them as pictures. After learning, spatial memory was accessed by a pointing task: In an across subjects design, 3 groups of 6 subjects were asked to point from various positions to the learnt goals (19 pointings per subject). Overall performance is rather good, with a mean angular error of -5.9 degrees (plus/
minus 53 degrees mean angular deviation) in the “flat” condition. Performance was significantly better in both the “slanted NW” condition (circular F-test, p<0.00001) and the
“slanted NE” condition (p<0.04). There is also a significant difference between the two slanted conditions (p < 0.01).
The results show that subjects are able to point to currently invisible targets in virtual environments. Adding a geographic slant improves this performance. We conclude that geographical slant plays a role either in the construction of a spatial memory, or in its readout, or in both.


 Dates: 1999-02
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: BibTex Citekey: 307
 Degree: -


Title: 2. Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK 1999)
Place of Event: Tübingen, Germany
Start-/End Date: 1999-02-26 - 1999-02-28

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Title: Beiträge zur 2. Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz
Source Genre: Proceedings
Bülthoff, HH1, Editor           
Fahle, M, Editor           
Gegenfurtner, KR1, Editor           
Mallot, HA1, Editor           
1 Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497794            
Publ. Info: Kirchentellinsfurt, Germany : Knirsch
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 86 Identifier: ISBN: 3-927091-45-6