The effect of emotions and emotionally laden landmarks on wayfinding

Ceylan Z. BalabanJustus Liebig University
Florian RöserJustus Liebig University
Kai HamburgerJustus Liebig University

Abstract

Emotions have an influence on attention, decision making, and memory (all factors required for wayfinding). It is assumed that both an emotional state and emotionally laden landmarks have an impact on wayfinding and on later recollection of the path. We performed two experiments to investigate our hypotheses. First, in both experiments participants had to study a route in a virtual environment including landmarks. Then they passed a recognition and wayfinding task, which was repeated after one week. The mood was measured using the PANAS scale. In the first experiment the emotionally laden landmarks were used as a between-subject factor in order to investigate the effect of mood in wayfinding. The aim of the second experiment was to examine the effect of emotionallly laden landmarks (within-subject factor) without affecting the emotional state. Results show that emotions have no significant effect on correct recognition, wayfinding and response times (Experiment 1). For Experiment 2 the results show that the best wayfinding performance occurs when negatively laden landmarks were used. Recognition performance was similar, however, hardly decreased over time for the negative stimuli. These findings are discussed within the current research literature.

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