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Title: Investigating the impact of individual user differences and environmental factors on spatial knowledge acquisition from virtual environments
Author: Kyritsis, Markos-Akrivos
ISNI:       0000 0004 2685 7467
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2010
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Trying to ‘learn’ the spatial layout of an environment is a common problem in certain application domains, such as military and emergency personnel training. Until recently this training was accomplished solely by providing maps and briefings of an environment. These methods, however, only provide topological (survey) knowledge of the environment, which pays little attention to the details of routes and landmarks that can only be acquired through the acquisition of procedural knowledge via navigation. Unlike previous experiments concerning spatial knowledge acquisition this work does not attempt to determine whether spatial knowledge acquisition is feasible. Such investigations have yielded a variety of results, yet all agree that spatial knowledge acquisition from a virtual environment is feasible if given enough exposure time. Accordingly, the aim of this thesis is to contribute towards a better understanding of how various individual differences and environmental factors impact the exposure time requirements needed for a person to acquire spatial knowledge from a virtual environment. Although the results of our investigation should be used with caution, we show that a one-size-fits-all situation is not possible when estimating the required exposure time that a user needs to acquire spatial knowledge. Moreover we provide a guide that allows a trainer to predict the required exposure time a person will require, by using the person's personal profile, and the environment's particular factors. In addition, we found that one of the tests we used during our investigation caused unnecessary frustration and confusion to our participants. This test is a standard way of finding a participant's orientation skill, and is commonly used in the area of spatial knowledge acquisition. Therefore, by recreating a new electronic version of the test and comparing the scores from both the new test and the old one our investigation showed that the scores on the new test were significantly higher for all participants. The training time was also lowered significantly. Our updated electronic version will be useful in future research. This test is available online at:
Supervisor: Gulliver, S. R. ; Morar, S. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Visuospatial research ; Human-computer interaction ; Navigation ; Orientation ; Virtual reality