Virtual reality (VR) experiments are an ideal tool to identify behavioral indices of good spatial navigation. Here, we employed a qualitative analysis of the navigational path of 28 subjects who freely explored a radial-shaped VR art gallery, constituted by central hall landmarks and objects (targets) located at the end of 6 out of 7 arms. Subjects were required to focus (“overt” group) or not (“covert” group) on the spatial configuration of the environment. A bird-view placement and a first-person search task, repeated after randomly changing the landmarks’ positions, were used to assess the spatial knowledge of the objects. Subjects completed questionnaires assessing the spatial navigation strategies preferentially adopted in real life and during the tasks. The explicit encoding of the spatial features led to better performances only in the placement task (i.e., overt > covert). In the search task, preliminary analyses through mixed linear models showed that performances were higher if adopting a route strategy and suggested a possible effect of the number of expositions to the targets. Behavioral indices associated with a successful navigation can guide research on the markers of disorientation in pathological diseases such as Alzheimer’s dementia.
The fickle art gallery: behavioral indices of navigation abilities in virtual reality / Bencivenga, Federica; Maffione, Maria Laura; Galati, Gaspare. - (2022). (Intervento presentato al convegno 30º Congresso dell’ Associazione Italiana di Psicologia tenutosi a Padua; Italy).