Project D: Route Learning

Homing and observer perspective

Theo Herrmann, Karin Schweizer, Gabriele Janzen, Steffi Katz

University of Mannheim, Department of Psychology

Duration: 1996 - 2000

Project homepage:

The acquisition and the representation of spatial environments are influenced by at least two factors: the type of navigation and the configuration of the spatial layout. In this project we conducted a series of experiments to investigate the contribution of both aspects. Our earlier experiments were dedicated to investigate whether the direction of acquisition is co-represented in mental representations like route knowledge. Our results confirm this assumption. Furthermore, the findings showed that the representation of route knowledge requires sufficient gradient information.
Another series of experiments investigates navigation difficulties arising at oblique angled intersections. We find that if subjects see the intersection as a fork it is more difficult to find the correct way as if they see it as an arrow. If we look a bit closer on detour behaviour we recognise that subjects learning and navigating through the maze in a field perspective use a heuristic of preferring right angled paths. If they have a view from above and acquire their knowledge in an observer perspective they use oblique angled paths more often.

Approaches: empirical investigation; modeling
Area of Research: cognitive psychology
Topics: memory; structure of representation; navigation; virtual reality

Project publications

Publications of project cooperations:

F - Robot Navigation
H - Landmark Usage
O - Reference Systems

mail us your comments or remarks last updated: March 2003