Spatial Navigation in a Virtual Multilevel Building: The Role of Exocentric View in Acquiring Survey Knowledge
The present study aimed to test the function of the exocentric view on the acquisition of survey knowledge during spatial navigation in a virtual multilevel building. Subjects navigated a virtual three-level building in three conditions. In the first condition, subjects navigated the building without any aid. In the second condition, subjects navigated the building with the aid of a three-dimensional (3D) floor map which illustrated the spatial layout on each level from one exocentric perspective. In the third condition, subjects could watch the spatial layout on each level from the exocentric perspective when traveling to another level by an elevator. After navigation, all subjects made the judgment of spatial relative direction. The analyses of the accuracy of spatial judgments showed that the accuracy of judgment of spatial horizontal direction was significantly improved when subjects observed the exocentric views of levels in the last two conditions; the judgment of spatial vertical direction was significantly worse in the 3D floor map condition than in other two conditions. Furthermore, the accuracy of judgment of both spatial horizontal and vertical directions was best in the direction faced by subjects when they first enter each level. The results suggested that the content of exocentric view should be carefully designed to improve the acquisition of survey knowledge. The application of the findings included the design of 3D map for the navigation in the virtual multilevel building.
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