The Influence of Visual Cues and Human Spatial Ability on Intra-vehicular Orientation Performance

  • Junpeng Guo
  • Guohua JiangEmail author
  • Yuqing Liu
  • Yu Tian
  • Bohe Zhou
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9736)


Astronauts often experience disorientation when floating inside their spacecraft due to the lack of gravity. Previous research showed that the intra-vehicular orientation performance correlated with human spatial ability, but paid less attention to the visual cues in the environment. In this study, an experiment was conducted to explore the role of visual cues on spatial orientation performance inside a virtual space station module. Results implicated that visual cues might help in three-dimensional space orientation, but its effect varied between different spatial ability groups. People with low spatial ability might depend more on visual cues for orientation whereas people with high spatial ability could be independent of visual cues in spatial orientation. This finding reveals the effect of visual cues for orientation inside the spacecraft and provides useful guide for prefight orientation training.


Spatial orientation Virtual reality Visual cues Spatial ability Weightlessness 



This study was supported by the National Defense Basic Research Program of China (No. B1720132001). Author Junpeng Guo, Yuqing Liu and Bohe Zhou were supported by the foundation of National Key Laboratory of Human Factors Engineering (No. SYFD140051807).


  1. 1.
    Pick Jr., H.L., Rieser, J.J.: Childlren’s cognitive mapping. In: Potegal, M. (ed.) Spatial Orientation: Development and Physiological Bases, pp. 107–128. Academic Press, New York (1982)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rieser, J.J.: Access to knowledge of spatial structure at novel points of observation. J. Exp. Psychol. Learn. Mem. Cogn. 15(6), 1157–1165 (1989)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Loomis, J.M., Da Silva, J.A., Fujita, N., Fukusima, S.S.: Visual space perception and visually directed action. J. Exp. Psychol. Hum. Percept. Perform. 18, 906–922 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ivanenko, Y.P., Grasso, R., Israel, I., Berthoz, A.: The contribution of otoliths and semicircular canals to the perception of two-dimensional passive whole-body motion in humans. J. Physiol. London 502, 223–233 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Loomis, J.M., Klatzky, R.L., Golledge, R.G., Cicinelli, J.G., Pellegrino, J.W., Fry, P.: Nonvisual navigation by blind and sighted: assessment of path integration ability. J. Exp. Psychol. Gen. 122, 73–91 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Rieser, J.J., Guth, D.A., Hill, E.W.: Sensitivity to perspective structure while walking without vision. Perception 15, 173–188 (1986)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Howard, I.P.: Human Visual Orientation. John Wiley & Sons, New York (1982)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wang, L., Mou, W., Sun, X.: Development of landmark knowledge at decision points. Spat. Cogn. Comput. 14(1), 1–17 (2014)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Li, X., Carlson, L.A., Mou, W., et al.: Describing spatial locations from perception and memory: the influence of intrinsic axes on reference object selection. J. Mem. Lang. 65(2), 222–236 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Clément, G., Reschke, M.F.: Neuroscience in Space. Springer Science & Business Media, New York (2010)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Oman, C.: Spatial orientation and navigation in microgravity. Spatial Processing in Navigation. Imagery and Perception, pp. 209–247. Springer, New York (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zhu, L., Yao, Y., Xu, P., et al.: Study on space station design elements for intra-vehicular navigation: a survey. In: 2011 International Conference on Electronic and Mechanical Engineering and Information Technology (EMEIT), vol. 9, pp. 4493–4496. IEEE (2011)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Oman, C.M., et al.: Three dimensional spatial memory and learning in real and virtual environments. Spatial Cogn. Comput. 2(4), 355–372 (2000)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Richards, J.T., et al.: Training, transfer, and retention of three-dimensional spatial memory in virtual environments. J. Vestib. Res. 12(5/6), 223–238 (2003)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Shebilske, W.L., et al.: Three-dimensional spatial skill training in a simulated space station: random vs. blocked designs. Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 77(4), 404–409 (2006)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Aoki, H., Oman, C.M., Natapoff, A.: Virtual-reality-based 3D navigation training for emergency egress from spacecraft. Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 78(8), 774–783 (2007)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Cizaire, C.C.J.L.: Effect of two-module-docked spacecraft configurations on spatial orientation. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2007)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Guay, R., Mc Daniels, E.: The visualization of viewpoints. The Purdue Research Foundation (as modified by Lippa, I., Hegarty, M., & Montello, D.R., 2002), West Lafayette, IN (1976)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Kozhevnikov, M., Hegarty, M.: A dissociation between object-manipulation spatial ability and spatial orientation ability. Mem. Cogn. 29, 745–756 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Junpeng Guo
    • 1
  • Guohua Jiang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yuqing Liu
    • 1
  • Yu Tian
    • 1
  • Bohe Zhou
    • 1
  1. 1.National Key Laboratory of Human Factors EngineeringChina Astronaut Research and Training CenterBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations