The effect of landmark and body-based sensory information on route knowledge

Mem Cognit. 2011 May;39(4):686-99. doi: 10.3758/s13421-010-0054-z.


Two experiments investigated the effects of landmarks and body-based information on route knowledge. Participants made four out-and-back journeys along a route, guided only on the first outward trip and with feedback every time an error was made. Experiment 1 used 3-D virtual environments (VEs) with a desktop monitor display, and participants were provided with no supplementary landmarks, only global landmarks, only local landmarks, or both global and local landmarks. Local landmarks significantly reduced the number of errors that participants made, but global landmarks did not. Experiment 2 used a head-mounted display; here, participants who physically walked through the VE (translational and rotational body-based information) made 36% fewer errors than did participants who traveled by physically turning but changing position using a joystick. Overall, the experiments showed that participants were less sure of where to turn than which way, and journey direction interacted with sensory information to affect the number and types of errors participants made.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cues
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kinesthesis*
  • Locomotion*
  • Male
  • Mental Recall*
  • Orientation*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Proprioception*
  • Space Perception*
  • User-Computer Interface*
  • Young Adult