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Distance and alignment effects in survey knowledge of a highly familiar city

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83917

Frankenstein,  J
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84088

Mohler,  B
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83839

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

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84081

Meilinger,  T
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Frankenstein, J., Mohler, B., Bülthoff, H., & Meilinger, T. (2009). Distance and alignment effects in survey knowledge of a highly familiar city. Poster presented at 32nd European Conference on Visual Perception, Regensburg, Germany.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-C397-C
Abstract
In this experiment we examined alignment and distance effects in human memory for a highly familiar environmental space. Twenty-seven participants who lived on average seven years in Tübingen saw a photorealistic virtual model of the city centre of Tübingen (Virtual Tübingen) through a head-mounted display. They were teleported to five different places in Virtual Tübingen and asked to point towards well-known target locations. This procedure was repeated 36 times for each of the target locations in 12 different body orientations. Participants pointed much more accurately when oriented northwards regardless of target. There were no significant correlations between straight line distance to the pointing target and pointing speed or accuracy. These results are consistent with the assumption that all locations were represented within one oriented coordinate system. Even though this is predicted by reference direction theory, it is unclear why, first, almost all participants have the same reference direction, and second, why this direction is north. We discuss our results with respect to well-known theories of spatial memory and speculate that the bias for a north orientation is because participants rely on the memory of a map of Tübingen for their response.