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Isovists capture locomotion-relevant properties of space

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

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

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84177

Rossmanith,  N
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84161

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

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83918

Franz,  G
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Wiener, J., Rossmanith, N., Reichelt, A., & Franz, G. (2005). Isovists capture locomotion-relevant properties of space. Poster presented at 8th Tübingen Perception Conference (TWK 2005), Tübingen, Germany.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-D649-0
Abstract
The systematic investigation of spatial behavior and cognition requires generic description systems for spatial form and configuration that capture behaviorally relevant properties of environments. Isovists (i.e. viewshed polygons describing the the visual space from single observation points, cf. [1]) have always been conceived as closely related to spatial behavior and, indeed, case studies found correlations between isovist measurands and large-scale statistical pedestrian dispersal [2] as well as navigation performance [3]. The relations between visuo-spatial properties and small-scale locomotion behavior, however, are widely unknown. The study presented here quantitatively explored correlations between isovist derivatives and behavior in architectural environments at the level of trajectories. In a navigation experiment, 16 participants were asked to find the place offering the best overview in each of 16 virtual indoor spaces. Subjects were advised to approach this position as accurately, directly, and quickly as possible. During this, their positional and orientational trajectories were recorded. Participants experienced the virtual environments from an egocentric perspective on a standard CRT offering a simulated field of view of 90x63 degrees; they interacted with the simulation using a customary joypad. The analysis tested for subjects’ performance with respect for finding the best overview place. Mean characteristic values derived from the individual trajectories were compared to task performance as well as to global isovist measurands of the corresponding virtual indoor scenes. Several strong correlations were found. For example, subjects’ performance was significantly correlated with the global isovist measurand ‘jaggedness’, describing aspects of the shape complexity of spatial situations (r=-.66, p<.01). On the level of trajectories, jaggedness was negatively correlated with average angular velocity during locomotion, i.e. subjects tended to turn more slowly in more complex environments (r=-.72, p<.01). Furthermore, in scenes featuring a high variance in visual stability, subjects showed a decreased tendency to stop and to reorient when solving the navigation task (r=-.55, p<.05). Correspondingly, a similar negative correlation with overall performance was found (r=-.56, p<.05). Altogether, the results suggest that isovists and their derivatives have predictive power not only for overall performance in the task tested, but also for spatial behavior at the level of trajectories, and therefore promise novel insights into the perceptual basis of locomotion.