Learning building layouts with non-geometric visual information: The effects of visual impairment and age

Amy A. Kalia, Gordon E. Legge, Nicholas A. Giudice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous studies suggest that humans rely on geometric visual information (hallway structure) rather than non-geometric visual information (eg doors, signs, and lighting) for acquiring cognitive maps of novel indoor layouts. In this study we asked whether visual impairment and age affect reliance on non-geometric visual information for layout learning. We tested three groups of participants - younger (<50 years of age) normally sighted; older (50-70 years of age) normally sighted; and low-vision (people with heterogeneous forms of visual impairment ranging in age from 18 to 67 years). Participants learned target locations in building layouts using four presentation modes: a desktop virtual environment (VE) displaying only geometric cues (sparse VE); a VE displaying both geometric and non-geometric cues (photorealistic VE); a map; and a real building. Layout knowledge was assessed by map drawing and by asking participants to walk to specified targets in the real space. Results indicate that low-vision and older normally sighted participants relied on additional non-geometric information to accurately learn layouts. In conclusion, visual impairment and age may result in reduced perceptual and/or memory processing that makes it difficult to learn layouts without non-geometric visual information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1677-1699
Number of pages23
JournalPerception
Volume37
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008

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