Three dimensional spatial memory and learning in real and virtual environments

Three dimensional spatial memory and learning in real and virtual environments Human orientation and spatial cognition partlydepends on our ability to remember sets ofvisual landmarks and imagine their relationshipto us from a different viewpoint. We normallymake large body rotations only about a singleaxis which is aligned with gravity. However,astronauts who try to recognize environmentsrotated in 3 dimensions report that theirterrestrial ability to imagine the relativeorientation of remembered landmarks does noteasily generalize. The ability of humansubjects to learn to mentally rotate a simplearray of six objects around them was studied in1-G laboratory experiments. Subjects weretested in a cubic chamber (n = 73) and aequivalent virtual environment (n = 24),analogous to the interior of a space stationnode module. A picture of an object waspresented at the center of each wall. Subjectshad to memorize the spatial relationships amongthe six objects and learn to predict thedirection to a specific object if their bodywere in a specified 3D orientation. Percentcorrect learning curves and response times weremeasured. Most subjects achieved high accuracyfrom a given viewpoint within 20 trials,regardless of roll orientation, and learned asecond view direction with equal or greaterease. Performance of the subject group thatused a head mounted display/head tracker wasqualitatively similar to that of the secondgroup tested in a physical node simulator. Body position with respect to gravity had asignificant but minor effect on performance ofeach group, suggesting that results may alsoapply to weightless situations. A correlationwas found between task performance measures andconventional paper-and-pencil tests of fieldindependence and 2&3 dimensional figurerotation ability. Spatial Cognition and Computation Springer Journals

Three dimensional spatial memory and learning in real and virtual environments

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Kluwer Academic Publishers
Copyright © 2000 by Kluwer Academic Publishers
Psychology; Cognitive Psychology
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