Re-evaluating benefits of body-based rotational cues for maintaining orientation in virtual environments: men benefit from real rotations, women don’t

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PubDate: August 2014

Teams: Simon Fraser University

Writers: Timofey Y. Grechkin;Bernhard E. Riecke

PDF: Re-evaluating benefits of body-based rotational cues for maintaining orientation in virtual environments: men benefit from real rotations, women don’t

Abstract

Relying exclusively on visual information to maintain orientation while traveling in virtual environments is challenging. However, it is currently unclear how much body-based information is required to produce a significant improvement in navigation performance. In our study participants explored unfamiliar virtual mazes using visual-only and physical rotations. Participants’s ability to remain oriented was measured using a novel pointing task. While men consistently benefitted from using physical rotations versus visual-only rotations (lower absolute pointing errors, configuration errors, and absolute ego-orientation errors), women did not. We discuss design implications for locomotion interfaces in virtual environments. Our findings also suggest that investigating individual differences may help to resolve apparent conflicts in the literature regarding potential benefits of physical rotational cues for effective spatial orientation.

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