Effects of travel technique and gender on a divided attention task in a virtual environment

Evan Suma Rosenberg, Samantha L. Finkelstein, Seth Clark, Paula Goolkasian, Larry F. Hodges

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

37 Scopus citations


We report a user study which compared four virtual environment travel techniques using a divided attention task. Participants used either real walking, gaze-directed, pointing-directed, or torso-directed travel to follow a target through an environment while simultaneously responding to auditory stimuli. In addition to travel technique, we investigated gender as a between-subjects variable and task difficulty (simple or complex) and task type (single or divided) as within-subjects variables. Real walking allowed superior performance over the pointing-directed technique on measures of navigation task performance and recognition of stimuli presented during navigation. This indicates that participants using real walking may have had more spare cognitive capacity to process and encode stimuli than those using pointing-directed travel. We also found a gender-difficulty interaction where males performed worse and responded slower to the attention task when the spatial task was more difficult, but no differences were observed for females between difficulty levels. While these results may be pertinent for the design of virtual environments, the nature and goal of the virtual environment tasks must be carefully considered to determine whether similar effects on performance can be expected under different conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication3DUI 2010 - IEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces 2010, Proceedings
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Jun 8 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventIEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces 2010, 3DUI 2010 - Waltham, MA, United States
Duration: Mar 20 2010Mar 21 2010


OtherIEEE Symposium on 3D User Interfaces 2010, 3DUI 2010
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityWaltham, MA


  • H.5.1 [Information Interfaces and Presentation]: multimedia information systems - artificial, augmented, and virtual realities
  • I.3.6 [computer graphics]: methodology and techniques - interaction techniques
  • I.3.7 [computer graphics]: three-dimensional graphics and realism - virtual reality
  • Locomotion
  • Navigation
  • User study
  • Virtual environments


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