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Title: Where we are tells us where we are going : the role of allocentric location cues in the visual guidance of walking
Author: Cen, Danlu
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 8402
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2017
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Does location information play any role in the visual guidance of walking towards a target? So far, the human walking literature has focused on two cues: optic flow (the pattern of motion at the eye) and the egocentric direction of the target. In stark contrast, in the related areas of animal navigation, the role of location information has been found to be particularly important. To address this gap, this thesis explored the role of allocentric location cues in visually guided walking. In a series of experiments, participants were asked to walk to a target wearing prisms or “virtual prism” which introduced an offset between their visual direction and walking direction. The salience of allocentric location cues was manipulated and the relative use of cues was evaluated by the curvature of the trajectories. Chapter 3 demonstrates the role of allocentric location cues. Trajectories were examined in four virtual environments with varying amount of optic flow and allocentric location cues. The pattern could not be explained by the richness of optic flow but is better captured by allocentric location cues. In addition, the pattern of heading judgements in the same environments was a poor predictor of the trajectories. Following this, Chapter 4 considers the impact of the target location on the walking trajectories. Chapter 5 uncovers a role of prior experience with the environment in the guidance of walking. The effect is robust when the availability of visual cues is limited in the environment. To further explore the use of prior knowledge, Chapter 6 aims to replicate an earlier study which has shown an effect of an allocentric representation on steering (Andersen & Enriquez, 2006). Taken together, the results in this thesis provide evidence for an important role of allocentric location cues and prior experience with the environment in the visual guidance of walking.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology