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Age differences and the acquisition of spatial knowledge in a three-dimensional environment: Evaluating the use of an overview map as a navigation aid.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2005 (English)In: International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, ISSN 1071-5819, Vol. 63, no 6, 537-564 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study examined age differences in the use of an electronic three-dimensional (3D) environment, and how the age differences were affected by the use of an overview map as a navigation aid. Task performance and the subjects' acquisition of configural knowledge of the 3D-environment were assessed. Impact of spatial ability and prior experience on these measurements were also investigated. One group of older subjects (n = 24) and one group of younger subjects (n = 24) participated. An overall hypothesis for the work presented here was that differences in learning to and performing navigational tasks in the physical world are similar in learning and performing navigational tasks in the virtual world. The results showed that the older participants needed more time to solve the tasks; and similar to navigation in the physical world, the older participants were less likely to create configural knowledge. It could not be established that older participants benefited more from an overview map as cognitive support than younger subjects, except in the subjective sense: the older users felt more secure when the map was there. The map seemed to have supported the older users in creating a feeling of where objects were located within the environment, but it did not make them more efficient. The results have implications for design; in particular, it brings up the difficult issue of balancing design goals such as efficiency in terms of time and functionality, against maintaining a sense of direction and location in navigational situations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2005. Vol. 63, no 6, 537-564 p.
Keyword [en]
age differences, spatial knowledge, electronic three dimensional environment, overview map, navigation aid
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-13538DOI: doi:10.1016/j.ijhcs.2005.04.024OAI: diva2:180058
Available from: 2008-04-10 Created: 2008-04-10 Last updated: 2011-01-12Bibliographically approved

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Höök, KristinaNilsson, Lars-Göran
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Department of Psychology

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