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Verbal, Visual and Spatial Memory in Wayfinding

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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;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84315

Widinger,  A
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84019

Knauff,  M
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;

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Citation

Meilinger, T., Widinger, A., Knauff, M., & Bülthoff, H. (2006). Verbal, Visual and Spatial Memory in Wayfinding. Poster presented at 9th Tübingen Perception Conference (TWK 2006), Tübingen, Germany.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-D2BF-C
Abstract
This study examined the working memory systems relevant for wayfinding. 24 participants learned two routes in a novel photorealistic virtual environment displayed on a 220 screen while performing a verbal, a visual, a spatial or no secondary task. Performance in the secondary task and in subsequent retracing of the previously presented routes with a joystick was recorded. Participants without a secondary task performed better compared to participants with a secondary task. On one route participants with the visual secondary task got lost less often compared to participants with the verbal secondary task. Better performance in the visual secondary task was found compared to the spatial secondary task. A trade-off between first and secondary task could be ruled out. The results indicate that spatial and verbal memory were used in wayfinding. Despite other results in pre-tests we measured a non-significant higher difficulty of the spatial secondary task in a baseline condition, providing an alternative explanation for the importance of spatial memory. After the experiment we tested the participants’ memory for their local surroundings. In a choice reaction task presented on a computer screen they had to discriminate pictures of intersections they had encountered before from distracters. Intersections encountered before were discriminated faster and more accurate from distracters when the perspective seen was along the direction of travelling compared to 90 or the opposite direction. The participants encoded their local environment view-dependent as they encountered it. At the level of large scale spaces, this result contradicts with encoding spatial information relative to a single reference direction [e.g. 1]. Pictures taken along the direction of travel were recognised better and faster than pictures aligned with a reference direction defined by the initial direction or the main orientation of the environment. In agreement with studies in reorientation [e.g. 2], verbal memory was used for wayfinding. These results are consistent with a dual coding approach, which states that spatial information is also encoded verbally. Local intersections were stored view-dependent as experienced along with the direction of travel rather than parallel to the initial orientation or the main orientation of a route.