Cover: Simulating Navigation for Spatial Knowledge Acquisition

Simulating Navigation for Spatial Knowledge Acquisition

Published 1981

by Sarah E. Goldin, Perry W. Thorndyke


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Compares actual and simulated navigation as alternative sources of environmental knowledge. Subjects experienced a 5.15-mile tour through an unfamiliar environment through either a bus ride or a film taken from an automobile driving along the route. In addition, subjects received either a map to be studied prior to navigation, a verbal narrative giving angle and distance information during navigation, or no supplementary information. Film (simulated navigation) groups performed as well as or better than tour groups on landmark and configural knowledge measures. They were inferior to tour groups in route sequence knowledge only on turning angles. Supplementary information affected only film groups. Narration tended to depress performance; map study enhanced configural knowledge but depressed route knowledge. The authors conclude that simulated navigation can substitute for actual navigation under some circumstances, and that map supplements can enhance abstraction of configural relations from simulated navigation.

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