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For efficient navigational search, humans require full physical movement but not a rich visual scene

By R.A. Ruddle and S. Lessels


During navigation, humans combine visual information from their surroundings with body-based information from the translational and rotational components of movement. Theories of navigation focus on the role of visual and rotational body-based information, even though experimental evidence shows they are not sufficient for complex spatial tasks. To investigate the contribution of all three sources of information, we asked participants to search a computer generated “virtual” room for targets. Participants were provided with either only visual information, or visual supplemented with body-based information for all movement (walk group) or rotational movement (rotate group). The walk group performed the task with near-perfect efficiency, irrespective of whether a rich or impoverished visual scene was provided. The visual-only and rotate groups were significantly less efficient, and frequently searched parts of the room at least twice. This suggests full physical movement plays a critical role in navigational search, but only moderate visual detail is required

Publisher: Blackwell Science
Year: 2006
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.whiterose.ac.uk:4958

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