Transfer of spatial learning from virtual to real space: the effects of differential modes of exploration, age and familiarity.

Sandamas, George and Foreman, Nigel and Korallo, Liliya (2004) Transfer of spatial learning from virtual to real space: the effects of differential modes of exploration, age and familiarity. Proceedings of the British Psychological Society, 12 (2). ISSN 1350-472X

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Purpose: To examine the extent to which children’s spatial learning from a virtual environment (VE) is dependent on mode of exploration, in particular active and passive experience, age and familiarity, and to compare and contrast the findings with those of an equivalent real-space study. Background: Theories of spatial learning have emphasised the positive benefits of independent exploratory activity, and studies in real space have usually supported this conclusion. However, in contrast, studies in virtual space have often failed to find any advantage for active explorers over passive observers. The current study used the methodology of a previous study in real space (Herman, 1980) that found an advantage for active explorers, to determine whether this finding would be replicated in virtual space. Method: Children seven to 10 years experienced a VE either actively (using a joystick to navigate freely around the environment) passively (observing active participants’ displacements), or from the perimeter (from eight viewpoints 45 degrees apart, or from a single viewpoint). Object placement accuracy across two trials was used to evaluate spatial learning. ANOVA indicated main effects of Age and Trial. A Trial x Condition interaction indicated that the scores of Active participants failed to improve between trials to the same extent as those of participants in the other three conditions. Conclusions: Generally, the findings are consistent with those of Herman (1980) who also found age and practice effects. However, the finding that the Active condition was the least effective for spatial learning is surprising and may be explained in terms of working memory loading and/or lack of familiarity with the computer input device.

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The 2004 BPS Annual Conference, Imperial College London, 15–17 April.

Research Areas:A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology
A. > School of Science and Technology > Psychology > Language, Learning and Cognition group
ID Code:6082
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Deposited On:15 Jun 2010 07:04
Last Modified:05 Oct 2015 15:50

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