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Global versus local cues for route finding in virtual environments

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Geiger,  SD
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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Gillner,  S
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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Mallot,  HA
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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Citation

Geiger, S., Gillner, S., & Mallot, H. (1997). Global versus local cues for route finding in virtual environments. Poster presented at 20th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP 1997), Helsinki, Finland.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-E9F8-F
Abstract
Motivated by the results of Gillner and Mallot (1996 Perception 25 Supplement, 93) implying that local views are basic elements for a spatial representation, we studied the role of global versus local landmarks using a route-finding task. Our hypotheses were: (i) A global navigation strategy relying on allocentric movement decisions is used, eg "go from this place towards the chapel on the hill", or (ii) a local navigation strategy based on view--movement associations is used, eg "at the red building go right". We performed an experiment in a computer graphics town based on a hexagonal grid structure. At each intersection we placed three different buildings. We also provided global direction information by placing six global landmarks distributed equally along a mountain range. Subjects had to learn the back and forth route between two buildings, not knowing that after a learning phase the location of buildings at a particular junction would be changed. These changes produced conflicting global and local information. In the test-phase, the subject approached individual junctions in both learned and novel directions and the movement decisions were recorded. In a control condition with unchanged places twenty subjects made correct decisions for 136 of 160 movements. In the experimental conflict condition 123 decisions were consistent with a local and 37 with a global strategy. This supports our previous finding that local views play a dominant role in making route judgements. Approaching a junction from a learned direction leads to more accurate movement decisions than approaching it from a novel direction, even if the global landmarks are available, which provides further support for the local-view hypothesis.