Effect of global landmarks on the development of cognitive map knowledge




Widdowson, Christopher

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A cognitive map is a spatial representation that contains information about an animal`s position and orientation in space. Cognitive maps consist predominately of two forms of spatial knowledge: procedural knowledge and survey knowledge (Thorndyke & Hayes-Roth, 1982). The present research explored how these two types of spatial knowledge might vary as a function of global landmarks positioned in the four corners of a virtual environment maze. In addition, measures of individual differences were taken to examine possible confounds with gender. Eighty participants were recruited from the SONA subject pool based upon self-reported video game player status: "High Gamers", "Moderate Gamers", and "Low Gamers". They were randomly assigned to Local (local landmarks only) and Global (local and global landmarks) conditions. Data were analyzed using separate split-plot factorial ANOVAs. Consistent with the previous literature, performance improved as a function of navigational experience and males generally performed better than females. However, removing the ceiling hurt procedural knowledge (Turn Direction), but helped survey knowledge (Simulated Orientation Task). Individual differences were correlated with both types of cognitive map knowledge.


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cognitive map, global landmark, individual difference, route knowledge, survey knowledge, video game