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Point-to-origin experiments in VR revealed novel qualitative errors in visual path integration

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84170

Riecke,  BE
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84883

Wiener,  JM
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Riecke, B., & Wiener, J. (2006). Point-to-origin experiments in VR revealed novel qualitative errors in visual path integration. Poster presented at 33rd International Conference and Exhibition on Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques (SIGGRAPH 2006), Boston, MA, USA.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-D0B1-7
Abstract
Even in state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR) setups, participants often feel lost when navigating through virtual environments. In psychological experiments, such disorientation is often compensated for by extensive training. The current study investigated participants’ sense of direction by means of a rapid point-to-origin task without any training or performance feedback. This allowed us to study participants’ intuitive spatial orientation in VR while minimizing the influence of higher cognitive abilities and compensatory strategies. After visually displayed passive excursions along oneor two-segment trajectories, participants were asked to point back to the origin of locomotion "as accurately and quickly as possible". Despite using a high-quality video projection with a 84°×63° field of view, participants’ overall performance was rather poor. Moreover, six of the 16 participants exhibited striking qualitative errors, i.e., consistent left-right confusions that have not been observed in comparable real world experiments. Taken together, this study suggests that even an immersive high-quality video projection system is not necessarily sufficient for enabling natural spatial orientation in VR. We propose that a rapid point-to-origin paradigm can be a useful tool for evaluating and improving the effectiveness of VR setups in terms of enabling natural and unencumbered spatial orientation and performance.