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Journal Articles Perceptual and Motor Skills Year : 2010

Wayfinding through an unfamiliar environment.


Strategies for finding one's way through an unfamiliar environment may be helped by 2D maps, 3D virtual environments, or other navigation aids. The relative effectiveness of aids was investigated. Experiments were conducted in a large, park-like environment. 24 participants (12 men, 12 women; age range = 22-50 years; M=32, SD = 7.4) were divided into three groups of four individuals, who explored a 2D map of a given route prior to navigation, received a silent guided tour by means of an interactive virtual representation, or acquired direct experience of the real route through a silent guided tour. Participants then had to find the same route again on their own. 12 observers were given a "simple" route with only one critical turn, and the other 12 a "complex" route with six critical turns. Compared to three people familiar with the routes, among the naive participants, those who had a direct experience prior to navigation all found their way again on the simple and complex routes. Those who had explored the interactive virtual environment were unable to find their way on the complex route. The relative scale representation in the virtual environment may have given incorrect impressions of relative distances between objects along the itinerary, rendering important landmark information useless.

Dates and versions

hal-00856993 , version 1 (02-09-2013)



Yasmine Boumenir, Fanny Georges, Jeremie Valentin, Guy Rebillard, Birgitta Dresp. Wayfinding through an unfamiliar environment.. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 2010, 111 (3), pp.829-47. ⟨10.2466/⟩. ⟨hal-00856993⟩
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