The influence of structural salience and verbalisation on finding the return path

Thomas HintereckerJustus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany
Marianne StrickrodtJustus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany
Florian RöserJustus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany
Kai HamburgerJustus Liebig University, Giessen, Germany

Abstract

Are some landmark positions at intersections better for finding a return path than others? This study investigated whether there is a variation in the influence of a landmark on performance and decision times when finding a return path depending on its position at an intersection. A variation of this influence is expected depending on the type of verbalisation of spatial directions used. First, participants learned a path either with direction specific (turn left at or turn right at) or direction unspecific material (turn into direction of or turn in the opposite direction of). In this path the positions of the landmarks were varied systematically. Secondly, participants had to find the return path of the learned route and their third task was to write down verbal route descriptions. An effect of the landmark position on finding the return path can be suggested, although it was barely insignificant, for direction specific and direction unspecific material. A significant influence on the accuracy of the information in the route descriptions depending on the position of a landmark and on the specificity of the spatial directions could be shown. The results are discussed in the context of current wayfinding and landmark research.

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