Interaction of orientation cues within a nested virtual environment

Craig Allison, Antony P. Wood, Edward S. Redhead

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Three experiments examined whether three factors (view of external targets, coloured wall cues, previous exploration of room) facilitate orientation within a virtual building and whether the interaction between the first two factors align with predictions from associative learning. Participants were teleported into a virtual room and asked to face in the direction of an external occluded target using all, none, or a combination of these factors. Experiment 1(n = 62) showed all 3 factors individually improved orientation. Experiment 2 (n = 28) illustrated that the interaction between external targets and colored wall cues was similar to an associative learning phenomenon, where more salient cues inhibit learning about less salient cues (called overshadowing). Previous research suggests salience of spatial cues can be moderated by familiarity with the cues. In both Experiment 1 and 2, participants were familiar with the external targets but not the colored wall cues. Experiment 3 (n = 92) manipulated familiarity with the external targets and found that when participants were not familiar with the external targets, they became overshadowed by coloured wall cues. The results are a novel demonstration that spatial cues within a nested environment interact in a way predicted by associative learning.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 29 Feb 2024

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