A particular field of cognitive psychology is the spatial memory, that is, the way people acquire and represent the relation between the person and the environment. One of the topic of this area concerns the study of environmental characteristics and their influence in the spatial representation of the environment.
Our line of research is examining the use of immersive virtual environments for studying sense of direction and spatial memory. Our research area concern with:
1. investigating similarities and differences between spatial memories acquired in desktop, immersive VE and real world;
2. explaining the alignment effect (i.e. when people have to perform an imaginative judging direction task, after having acquired a map, they are more accurate and faster when their imagined perspective is the same as their learned one) taking into account individual differences, that is the special ways through which people represent spatial information (i.e. spatial cognitive style: landmark, route and survey);
3. determining whether there are some personality characteristics associate to spatial cognitive style and how these influence navigation;
4. exploring which spatial frames of reference are used when we have to locate objects either in relation to us (i.e. subject-to-object localization) or to other objects (i.e. object-to-object localization). In particular, we wanted to know if people use the same or different frames of reference in these two different kinds of localization ;
5. determining the relative contributions of the characteristics of the person (i.e. spatial cognitive style, gender, familiarity with the environment, trait of personality) and of the physical environment (i.e. the degree of landmark differentiation, the degree of visual access to the environment, the complexity of spatial layout) in wayfinding (or spatial knowledge);
6. investigating whether Web navigation strategies are correlated with real world navigation strategies.