Men to the East and Women to the Right: Wayfinding with Verbal Route Instructions

  • Vanessa Joy A. Anacta
  • Angela Schwering
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6222)

Abstract

In this paper, we investigate the outdoor wayfinding performance of men and women in a shifting frame of reference with verbal route instructions given in German language. This study replicated the methodology of Ishikawa and Kiyomoto (2008) but investigated also the gender component. The participants were divided into absolute-relative (A-R) and relative-absolute (R-A) groups. They had to follow ten routes: The A-R group walked the first set of five routes with instructions given in absolute frame of reference which shifted to instructions in relative frame of reference. The R-A group, on the other hand, walked the first set of five routes with relative instructions and shifted to an absolute reference frame. In the experiment, the results showed that participants in both groups had difficulty following the absolute instructions wherein they had significantly more stops, more deviations and travelled longer off-route. The overall performance increase of participants who started with an absolute and shifted to a relative reference frame was higher than the performance decrease of participants who started with a relative and shifted to an absolute reference frame. In terms of gender, the wayfinding performance of both, men and women, was significantly better with instructions in relative than in absolute reference frame. Women made fewer stops, fewer deviations, and did not walk off the route as frequently as men. However, the gender effect was not significant.

Keywords

outdoor wayfinding frame of reference gender verbal route instructions 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Colom, R., Quiroga, M.A., Juan-Espinosa, M.: Are cognitive sex differences disappearing? Evidence from Spanish populations. Personality and Individual Differences (27), 1189–1195 (1999)Google Scholar
  2. Coluccia, E., Louse, G.: Gender differences in spatial orientation: A Review. Journal of Environmental Psychology 24, 329–340 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Eals, M., Silverman, I.: The Hunter-gatherer theory of spatial sex differences: Proximate factors mediating the female advantage in Recall of object arrays. Ethology and Sociobiology 15, 105 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Golledge, R.G., Dougherty, V., Bell, S.: Survey versus Route-Based Wayfinding in Unfamiliar Environments. Working Paper UCTC No. 214. Paper presented at AAG Conference. University of California Transportation Center (1993)Google Scholar
  5. Golledge, R.G., Gale, N., Pellegrino, J.W., Doherty, S.: Spatial Knowledge Aquisition by Children: Route learning and relational distances. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 82(2), 223–244 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Holding, C.S., Holding, D.H.: Acquisition of Route Network Knowledge by Males and Females. The Journal of General Psychology 116, 29–41 (1988)Google Scholar
  7. Hund, A., Minarik, J.: Getting from here to there: Spatial Anxiety, Wayfinding Strategies, Direction Type, and Wayfinding Efficiency. Spatial Cognition and Computation 6(3), 179–201 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Iachini, T., Sergi, I., Ruggiero, G., Gnisci, A.: Gender differences in object location memory in a real three-dimensional environment. Brain and Cognition 59, 52–59 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ishikawa, T., Kiyomoto, M.: Turn to the Left or to the West: Verbal Navigational Directions in Relative and Absolute Frames of Reference. In: Cova, T.J., Miller, H.J., Beard, K., Frank, A.U., Goodchild, M.F. (eds.) GIScience 2008. LNCS, vol. 5266, pp. 119–132. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kim, B., Lee, S., Lee, J.: Gender Differences in Spatial Navigation. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology 31 (2007)Google Scholar
  11. Lawton, C.A., Kallai, J.: Gender Differences in Wayfinding Strategies and Anxiety about wayfinding: A cross-cultural comparison. Sex Roles 47(9/10), 389–401 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Lawton, C.A.: Gender and Regional Differences in Spatial Referents used in Direction giving. Sex Roles 44(5/6), 321–337 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Levinson, S.C.: Language and Space. Annual Reviews on Anthropology 25, 353–382 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lovelace, K.L., Hegarty, M., Montello, D.: Elements of Good Route Directions in Familiar and Unfamiliar Environments. In: Freksa, C., Mark, D.M. (eds.) COSIT 1999. LNCS, vol. 1661, pp. 65–82. Springer, Heidelberg (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Masters, M.S., Sanders, B.: Is the Gender Difference in Mental Rotation Disappearing? Behaviour Genetics 23(4) (1993)Google Scholar
  16. Montello, D., Lovelace, K., Golledge, R., Self, C.: Sex-related differences and similarities in Geographic and Environmental Spatial Abilities. Annals of Association of American Geographers 89(3), 515–534 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. O’Laughlin, E.O., Brubaker, B.S.: Use of Landmarks in Cognitive Mapping: Gender Differences in Self Report versus Performance. Person, Individual Difference 24(5), 595–601 (1998); Santa Barbara Sense of Direction Scale (SBSOD), http://www.psych.ucsb.edu/~hegarty/instruments/sbsod.pdf (Last accessed on September 10, 2009)
  18. Schmitz, S.: Gender-related strategies in environmental development: Effects of anxiety on wayfinding in and representation of a three-dimensional maze. Journal of Environmental Psychology 17, 215–228 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Scholl, M.J., Acacio, J.C., Makar, R.O., Leon, C.: The Relation of Sex and Sense of Direction to Spatial Orientation in an unfamiliar environment. Journal of Environmental Psychology 20, 17–28 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Silverman, I., Choi, J.: Non-Euclidean Navigational Strategies of Women: Compensatory Response or Evolved Dimorphism? Evolutionary Psychology 4, 75–84 (2006)Google Scholar
  21. Spence, I., Yu, J.J., Feng, J., Marshman, J.: Women match men when learning a spatial skill. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition 35(4), 1097–1103 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ward, S.L., Newcombe, N., Overton, W.F.: Turn Left at the Church, or Three Miles North: A Study of Direction Giving and Sex Differences. Environment and Behavior 18(2), 192–213 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Weiss, E.M., et al.: Sex Differences in cognitive functions. Personality and Individual Differences 35, 863–875 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa Joy A. Anacta
    • 1
  • Angela Schwering
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for GeoinformaticsUniversity of MuensterMuensterGermany

Personalised recommendations