The effect of landmark and body-based sensory information on route knowledge

Roy A. Ruddle, Ekaterina Volkova, Betty Mohler, Heinrich H. Bülthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Two experiments investigated the effects of landmarks and body-based information on route knowledge. Participants made four out-and-back journeys along a route, guided only on the first outward trip and with feedback every time an error was made. Experiment 1 used 3-D virtual environments (VEs) with a desktop monitor display, and participants were provided with no supplementary landmarks, only global landmarks, only local landmarks, or both global and local landmarks. Local landmarks significantly reduced the number of errors that participants made, but global landmarks did not. Experiment 2 used a head-mounted display; here, participants who physically walked through the VE (translational and rotational body-based information) made 36% fewer errors than did participants who traveled by physically turning but changing position using a joystick. Overall, the experiments showed that participants were less sure of where to turn than which way, and journey direction interacted with sensory information to affect the number and types of errors participants made.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)686-699
Number of pages14
JournalMemory and Cognition
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by an Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers awarded to R.A.R., as well as by the Max Planck Society and the WCU (World Class University) program through the National Research Foundation of Korea, funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (R31-2008-000-10008-0). We thank Michael Kerger and Michael Weyel for their technical assistance.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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