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Reorienting in virtual 3D environments: do adult humans use principal axes, medial axes or local geometry?

Ambosta AH, Reichert JF, Kelly DM - PLoS ONE (2013)

Bottom Line: Studies have shown that animals, including humans, use the geometric properties of environments to orient.Using a virtual environment task, participants were trained to select a response box located at one of two geometrically identical corners within a featureless rectangular-shaped environment.Importantly, the search behaviour of participants could not be explained by a principal axes-based strategy.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Studies have shown that animals, including humans, use the geometric properties of environments to orient. It has been proposed that orientation is accomplished primarily by encoding the principal axes (i.e., global geometry) of an environment. However, recent research has shown that animals use local information such as wall length and corner angles as well as local shape parameters (i.e., medial axes) to orient. The goal of the current study was to determine whether adult humans reorient according to global geometry based on principal axes or whether reliance is on local geometry such as wall length and sense information or medial axes. Using a virtual environment task, participants were trained to select a response box located at one of two geometrically identical corners within a featureless rectangular-shaped environment. Participants were subsequently tested in a transformed L-shaped environment that allowed for a dissociation of strategies based on principal axes, medial axes and local geometry. Results showed that participants relied primarily on a medial axes strategy to reorient in the L-shaped test environment. Importantly, the search behaviour of participants could not be explained by a principal axes-based strategy.

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Testing Environment.A) Schematic representation of the virtual L-shaped testing environment. The open squares represent the response boxes located at each corner. B) One example viewpoint of the virtual testing environment shown from corner U.
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pone-0078985-g004: Testing Environment.A) Schematic representation of the virtual L-shaped testing environment. The open squares represent the response boxes located at each corner. B) One example viewpoint of the virtual testing environment shown from corner U.

Mentions: Testing was conducted in an L-shaped virtual environment in which the two longest walls were 200 vu, the two intermediate walls were 150 vu and the two shortest walls were 50 vu. The wall and floor colours of the testing environment were identical to that of the training environment. Response boxes identical to those in the training environment were placed equidistant from the five vertices of the L-shaped environment (see Figure 4A for a schematic representation of the environment and Figure 4B for an example of the environment from the participant's viewpoint).


Reorienting in virtual 3D environments: do adult humans use principal axes, medial axes or local geometry?

Ambosta AH, Reichert JF, Kelly DM - PLoS ONE (2013)

Testing Environment.A) Schematic representation of the virtual L-shaped testing environment. The open squares represent the response boxes located at each corner. B) One example viewpoint of the virtual testing environment shown from corner U.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3818497&req=5

pone-0078985-g004: Testing Environment.A) Schematic representation of the virtual L-shaped testing environment. The open squares represent the response boxes located at each corner. B) One example viewpoint of the virtual testing environment shown from corner U.
Mentions: Testing was conducted in an L-shaped virtual environment in which the two longest walls were 200 vu, the two intermediate walls were 150 vu and the two shortest walls were 50 vu. The wall and floor colours of the testing environment were identical to that of the training environment. Response boxes identical to those in the training environment were placed equidistant from the five vertices of the L-shaped environment (see Figure 4A for a schematic representation of the environment and Figure 4B for an example of the environment from the participant's viewpoint).

Bottom Line: Studies have shown that animals, including humans, use the geometric properties of environments to orient.Using a virtual environment task, participants were trained to select a response box located at one of two geometrically identical corners within a featureless rectangular-shaped environment.Importantly, the search behaviour of participants could not be explained by a principal axes-based strategy.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Psychology, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

ABSTRACT
Studies have shown that animals, including humans, use the geometric properties of environments to orient. It has been proposed that orientation is accomplished primarily by encoding the principal axes (i.e., global geometry) of an environment. However, recent research has shown that animals use local information such as wall length and corner angles as well as local shape parameters (i.e., medial axes) to orient. The goal of the current study was to determine whether adult humans reorient according to global geometry based on principal axes or whether reliance is on local geometry such as wall length and sense information or medial axes. Using a virtual environment task, participants were trained to select a response box located at one of two geometrically identical corners within a featureless rectangular-shaped environment. Participants were subsequently tested in a transformed L-shaped environment that allowed for a dissociation of strategies based on principal axes, medial axes and local geometry. Results showed that participants relied primarily on a medial axes strategy to reorient in the L-shaped test environment. Importantly, the search behaviour of participants could not be explained by a principal axes-based strategy.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus