Project I: Egospace

Distance and direction coding in real and virtual environments

Mark May, Fredrik Wartenberg

University of the Armed Forces Hamburg, Institute for Cognitive Research

Duration: 1996 - 1998

Project homepage:

The project examines processes of spatial information integration during whole-body movements in real and virtual environments. The methodological approach taken combines behavioral analysis experimentation with mathematical and cognitive modeling tools. Navigations in virtual environments are used as an experimental technique for isolating visual mechanisms of spatial information coding and integration. Systematic comparisons with spatial performances under real-world conditions are undertaken to learn more about the relative contribution of visual and sensorimotor (i.e., vestibular, kinesthetic, proprioceptive) coding mechanisms to spatial knowledge acquisition. A first series of experiments in local open-field environments uses locomotor distance and direction estimations to examine the efficiency of visual and sensorimotor coding mechanisms and their susceptability to interruptions by secondary (sensory, motor and cognitive) tasks. A second series of experiments will move on to more complex (i.e., cluttered) environments and compare spatial integration performances during movements in real and virtual environments. Next to a better understanding of movement-related spatial coding and integration mechanisms, we hope to shed light on open questions of using virtual-world navigations as a surrogate for real-world navigations.

Approaches: empirical investigation; modeling
Areas of Research: cognitive science; cognitive psychology
Topics: navigation; motion/ dynamic change; interaction with the environment; virtual reality; perception

Project publications

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