Spatial navigation in virtual reality environments: an EEG analysis

Cyberpsychol Behav. 2003 Oct;6(5):487-95. doi: 10.1089/109493103769710514.


Past research has linked theta oscillations (electroencephalographic activity in the 4-8-Hz range) to spatial navigation in rodents and humans, and to the encoding and retrieval of spatial information in rodents. In the present study, electroencephalographic activity was measured while humans navigated through virtual mazes. Results confirmed previous findings that the frequency of theta episodes is directly related to the difficulty of maze navigation. We were also able to show that theta episodes occur most likely at points in a maze where new hallways come into view, or after navigational mistakes have been realized and are being corrected. This indicates that, just as in rodents, theta episodes in humans are related to the encoding and retrieval of spatial information.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Color
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Maze Learning / physiology*
  • Mental Processes / physiology
  • Reference Values
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Spatial Behavior / physiology*
  • Theta Rhythm*
  • User-Computer Interface*