Context Effects in Memory for Routes
When people experience a new environment they first develop landmark knowledge and second route knowledge. Route knowledge is thought to be different from survey knowledge which may develop with additional experience. The present paper describes three experiments in which participants learned a route through (1) a real maze, (2) a virtual maze, or (3) our university library. Participants were tested for their spatial knowledge using a cued recall procedure. Testing was done either in context, i.e. along the route, or out of context, i.e. in a separate, neutral room.
Results showed a clear context effect. In addition, the context effect generalized along the route in the real environments. However, no generalization was observed in the virtual version. Application of multinomial models revealed that the structure of the knowledge acquired was more complex than assumed by popular models of route knowledge.
KeywordsVirtual Environment Context Effect Multinomial Model Decision Point Context Condition
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