Memory for object location and route direction in virtual large-scale space

Janzen, G. (2006). Memory for object location and route direction in virtual large-scale space. Ouarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 59(3), 493-508. doi:10.1080/02724980443000746.
In everyday life people have to deal with tasks such as finding a novel path to a certain goal location, finding one’s way back, finding a short cut, or making a detour. In all of these tasks people acquire route knowledge. For finding the same way back they have to remember locations of objects like buildings and additionally direction changes. In three experiments using recognition tasks as well as conscious and unconscious spatial priming paradigms memory processes underlying wayfinding behaviour were investigated. Participants learned a route through a virtual environment with objects either placed at intersections (i.e., decision points) where another route could be chosen or placed along the route (non-decision points). Analyses indicate first that objects placed at decision points are recognized faster than other objects. Second, they indicate that the direction in which a route is travelled is represented only at locations that are relevant for wayfinding (e.g., decision points). The results point out the efficient way in which memory for object location and memory for route direction interact.
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