Spatial mental representations in virtual environments

P. A. Hancock, Claudia Hendrix, Eric Arthur

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Spatial mental representations learned by the study of maps are thought to be orientation specific. Studies have shown that people have difficulty in making judgments from an orientation which is different from the orientation of the map itself. It has been hypothesized that such alignment effects can be attributed to differences in the number of viewpoints encountered during learning. The current study used virtual environments to test this hypothesis. Participants were presented several objects located on a plain within an immersive virtual environment. They learned the environment to a criterion level. The critical task for all experiments was to judge the accuracy with which subjects could identify correct triads of object layouts as well as the response latency to make the judgment. The results of the first experiment showed a linear increase in judgment time as the amount of normalization required of the stimulus increased thus supporting the multiple views theory. The results of the second experiment suggested that four viewpoints were needed for simple spacial configurations before orientation specificity could be eliminated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1147
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
StatePublished - 1997


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