Effects of Active Exploration and Passive Observation on Spatial Learning in a CAVE

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Department of Computer Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University


This experiment was a modification of Paul N. Wilson's 1999 study entitled "Active Exploration of a Virtual Environment Does Not Promote Orientation or Memory for Objects." It was hoped that changing the immersion level from a standard desktop monitor to a more immersive CAVE environment would change the results of this experiment. All subjects explored a three-dimensional virtual environment in a CAVE. Active subjects were given controls to choose their own path and explore the environment. Passive subjects watched a playback tour through the virtual environment. A unique active subject determined the tour for each passive subject. Each subject was asked to remember the objects they saw, their locations, and the floor plan of the environment. Afterward, subjects were asked to indicate the direction to another location that was not visible from the current location. Other object memory tests required recalling the location of each object and indicating it on a plan view of the environment. Similar to Wilson's experiment, this experiment yielded no significant indication that active exploration or passive observation changes the level of spatial learning.



Virtual environments