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Relearning of metric relations in a familiar environment

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Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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MPIK-TR-90.pdf
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Citation

Rothkegel, R., Mallot, H., & Bülthoff, H.(2002). Relearning of metric relations in a familiar environment (90). Tübingen, Germany: Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-E078-A
Abstract
The ability of spatial memory to adapt to changes in an environment was investigated in an experiment, where participants navigated in a virtual reality reconstruction of a city they were familiar with. In the learning phase, participants used a special bike to pedal through a reconstruction of the inner city of Tübingen, Germany. Their task was to memorize the locations of the buildings in the city. In the experimental conditions, the city was scaled nonuniformly compared to the actual city, that is the north-south axis was streched or compressed relative to the east-west axis. In the control condition, the proportions of the virtual city were not distorted. In the test phase participants were asked to judge distances between buildings from memory by both, verbal magnitude estimation and navigation. They had to estimate all possible distances between 8 pairs of houses. Distance estimates differed between scaling conditions, but they reflected the scaling of the virtual environment only in one condition. Therefore, it could be shown, that modifications of a familiar environment on a purely metrical level affect spatial representations, but there is only weak evidence that distance estimates mirror the distortions of the virtual environments.