Two Strategies for Learning a Route in a Driving Simulator
Vlada Aginsky, Cambridge Basic Research, Nissan Research & Development, Inc., Cambridge MA, USA.
Catherine L. Harris, Department of Psychology, Boston University, Boston MA, USA.
Ronald A. Rensink, Cambridge Basic Research, Nissan Research & Development, Inc., Cambridge MA, USA.
Jack M. Beusmans, Cambridge Basic Research, Nissan Research & Development, Inc., Cambridge MA, USA.
Journal of Environmental Psychology, 17: 317-331. 1997.
Abstract The study of human navigation has long been dominated by the so-called stage theory, i.e., the notion that there are three distinct types of spatial knowledge (landmark, route, and survey knowledge), that are acquired sequentially during sptial learning and development. Based on the results of a route learning experiment in a driving simulator, an alternative to the stage theory is proposed. The authors suggest that subjects follow either a visually dominated or a spatially dominated strategy to solve a route-learning problem. In the visually dominated strategy, subjects base their wayfinding decisions on visually recognizing decision points along a route; the decision points are not integrated into any kind of survey representation. In the spatially dominated strategy, on the other hand, subjects represent the environment as a survey map right from the start; that is, they do not pass through a landmark or route stage. These strategies may be subserved by different cortical areas recently characterized in neurophysiological studies of animals solving maze problems.
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