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Communication Theory Lecture 2: Designing tools for interaction with the environment (2) Dr. Danaë Stanton Fraser.

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Presentation on theme: "Communication Theory Lecture 2: Designing tools for interaction with the environment (2) Dr. Danaë Stanton Fraser."— Presentation transcript:

1 Communication Theory Lecture 2: Designing tools for interaction with the environment (2) Dr. Danaë Stanton Fraser

2 Communication Theory 2005 Cognition and Space Distributed cognition challenges us to investigate the relationship between space and the mind It is therefore important for us to understand how space features in cognition both in the laboratory and in the wild Fortunately, technologies have begun to provide ideal control test beds for understanding the cognitive properties of space

3 Communication Theory 2005 Humans and animals must adopt strategies to gauge their constantly altering position within the environment if they are to successfully negotiate that great God-given maze which is our human world (Tolman, 1948, p. 208).

4 Communication Theory 2005 The Cognitive Map McGee (1982) defined spatial orientation as the comprehension of the arrangement of elements within a visual stimulus pattern, the aptitude for remaining unconfused by the changing orientations in which a configuration may be presented and the ability to determine spatial relations in which the body orientation of the observer is an essential part of the problem (p.4).

5 Communication Theory 2005 3D We see our world in three dimensions. Although the retina in the eye is a flat surface and therefore the images it receives are two dimensional, distance cues enable some two dimensional images to be perceived as distant in a three dimensional world. Monocular depth cues include relative size, superposition/occlusion and relative height. Relative size refers to smaller objects being interpreted as further away than larger objects. Occlusion is the effect when one object obstructs another, causing the overlapping object to be perceived as being nearer. The relative height of similar objects can enable distance perception, for example, objects that are seen as higher in the image are perceived as more distant.

6 Communication Theory 2005 3D The use of two eyes (binocular vision) has advantages for depth perception. Our two eyes enable us to see two slightly different images of an object and we use this disparity to calculate the objects orientation in space. The term stereopsis is used to explain how the brain adds depth from this disparity between the different images from the two eyes.

7 Communication Theory 2005 3D Another type of depth cue arises from autonomous movement in space which appears to be crucial to the development of an effective internal spatial representation. Gibson (1966) stated that as the observer moves through space, there is a flow of stimulation on the retinas, which leads to a better understanding of the three dimensionality of our world. When the observer moves....the optic array becomes alive with motion (Haber and Hershenson, 1973, p.332).

8 Communication Theory 2005 Theories of Space Kant claims that space and time are the very form of the human mind (Ellis, 1991, p.xiii). Indeed everyday navigation and technological advances aiding exploration (flying, driving) involve complex spatial skill.

9 Communication Theory 2005 Space Psychological space refers to the space of our perceptual experience, any space which is attributed to the mind...and which would not exist if minds did not exist (OKeefe and Nadel, 1978, p.6-7). Physical space refers to the three dimensional, Euclidean world in which we live. These two types of space overlap and interact with one another. We can also distinguish between virtual space and physical space, as virtual environments do not exist in the physical world. The focus here is psychological space and investigates whether experience of virtual space, can be used to supplement physical space.

10 Communication Theory 2005 The form of the Cognitive Map Tolman (1948) describes a map control room in the brain which stimuli enter and are worked over and elaborated into a tentative, cognitive-like map of the environment (p.192). This cognitive map contains routes, paths and environmental relationships which are stored and can be used when responding to the environment. Thus accuracy of response to ones environment is intricately linked to the quality of the cognitive map formed.

11 Communication Theory 2005 The form of the Cognitive Map OKeefe and Nadel (1978) drew a distinction between the Taxon system (routes) and the Locale system (places) in the build up of spatial knowledge. The Taxon system involves using a series of S-R-S (stimulus-response-stimulus) instructions. Navigation involves moving from one landmark to the next by aligning oneself in relation to the landmarks. The Locale system is a highly flexible system, based on the development and use of internal maps. OKeefe and Nadel (1978) state that exploration is essential for the creation of internal spatial cognitive maps and in constantly up-dating them.

12 Communication Theory 2005 The form of the Cognitive Map Animal behavioural studies Most authors agree that humans carry spatial representations of their environment in their heads, yet there is constant debate concerning the type and content of these representations. Siegel and White (1975) suggest a three tiered process in the development of spatial knowledge: the use of landmarks, then the adoption of route knowledge allowing fairly simple wayfinding, and finally internal representations of space, allowing more sophisticated methods of navigation.

13 Communication Theory 2005 Landmarks, routes and maps Siegel and White suggest that landmarks may constitute meaningful events and the nervous system may be continually taking pictures of them. Routes are built up by connecting a series of landmarks. This strategy is egocentric (dependent on the bodys location and direction of pointing in space) and is efficient as long as the links between successive turns are accurate. A cognitive map applies to the mental images that individuals build up as they become more familiar with their surroundings. This type of representation is allocentric (not dependent on the bodys position in space or direction of regard) and thus is extremely flexible

14 Communication Theory 2005 Properties of cognitive map Pick and Lockman (1981) describe three properties of spatial maps: reversibility, transitivity and enabling detours. Lynch (1960) suggests that the cognitive map is a product of the number and type of landmarks and the number and type of past experiences one has had in a particular location.

15 Communication Theory 2005 Cognitive Map (contd.) Thorndyke and Hayes-Roth (1982) state three important points about spatial cognition. Firstly, people build up their spatial knowledge from a variety of different sources: navigation through the environment, a wide variety of different forms of maps, verbal descriptions and photographs. The knowledge gained from each of these sources is integrated to form spatial knowledge. Secondly, dependent on the knowledge they have, people use different methods when making spatial judgements. Thirdly, the accuracy of any spatial judgement is dependent not only on the accuracy of spatial knowledge but also on the computations performed on this knowledge.

16 Communication Theory 2005 Virtual Environment (VE) Virtual environments (VEs) have as their core the simulation by computer of three dimensional space. The first defining feature of VEs is that they can be explored in real time with similar freedom to real world exploration. The second defining feature is that the user may interact with objects and events in the simulation. Virtual Environments are interesting tools for psychology research in spatial cognition, because they allow some control over testing spatial exploration

17 Communication Theory 2005 Application of VEs Research using VEs has stemmed from: –Military –Space –Aviation VEs are now used in a wide variety of settings, including: –Education –Medicine –Building design –Applications for those with disabilities –…

18 Communication Theory 2005 Presence in VEs VEs consist of three-dimensional, interactive, computer generated worlds, running in real time. Often, interacting with these worlds provides a feeling of presence as every response has a consequence, and the egocentric viewpoint gives the illusion of looking from within the virtual world. This may be true for more or less realistic technologies (e.g. head-mounted displays vs. desktop VEs)

19 Communication Theory 2005 Example VE

20 Communication Theory 2005 Training in VEs Virtual environments are potential useful media for training spatial skills: Interactions with VEs reproduce similar visual-spatial characteristics to interactions with the real world Interactions with VEs can preserve the link between motor actions and their perceived effects (Regian, Shebilske and Monk, 1992). This may be primarily due to the three dimensionality of the display, which provides all of the transformations in the visual appearances of objects that would accompany real movements in space. In Gibsons (1979) terms, the optical flow patterns that would be experienced in the course of real movements are maintained in the displayed environment.

21 Communication Theory 2005 Training in VEs (contd.) VEs enable assessment of the internal spatial representations within the same mode as they were acquired. A user explores a VE and then can be tested on their spatial knowledge within this same environment using pointing tasks or route tests. easily adaptable, allows repeated viewing, and provides tight control of cues. they allow learning to take place without the danger of injury a high level of interactivity

22 Communication Theory 2005 Training and Education Why use 3D environments for training –Take on different perspectives –Visualise 3D concepts –Interact in real time –Explore dangerous situations in safety –Independent rehearsal –Present realistic or abstract scenarios –Promote different learning styles and teaching methods –possess a high degree of flexibility

23 Communication Theory 2005 Training and Education Navigation and wayfinding –simulations of buildings –spatial orientation measures

24 Communication Theory 2005 Example studies Experimental work examining the way people encode spatial information from exploration of virtual environments: A novel paradigm for investigating configural learning Transfer of spatial information The effect of repeated exposure to virtual environments Evidence for vertical asymmetry in spatial memory Work in progress examining transfer from a simulation of a multi-level complex building to the equivalent real world environment

25 Communication Theory 2005 Developing a Cognitive Map The quality of childrens cognitive maps is dependent on familiarity with the environment (repeated exposure, provision of landmarks, locomotion allowing self initiated exploration). Children with restricted mobility less chance of exploration of environment and thus develop poorer spatial cognitive maps E.g. Foreman Orencas et al (1989) children with physical disabilities significantly worse at spatial tasks Kozlowski and Bryant (1977) concluded that for people to show a good sense of direction it was necessary for them (a) to make a conscious effort to orientate themselves, and (b) to provide them with repeated exposure to the test environment.

26 Communication Theory 2005 Why Virtual Environments? Virtual environments (VEs) have as their core the simulation by computer of three dimensional space. The first defining feature of VEs is that they can be explored in real time with similar freedom to real world exploration. The second defining feature is that the user may interact with objects and events in the simulation. VEs particularly suitable due to: Egocentric viewpoint, visual flow, safe to explore independently.. Desktop with tailored interfaces

27 Communication Theory 2005 1. Background to Shortcut studies Few studies looking at the development of internal spatial representations in disabled children (Foreman et al, 1989b; Simms 1987). Neither of these studies included a shortcut task. The ability to take shortcuts demonstrates the formation of an effective internal representation of space (Chapuis, Durup and Thinus-Blanc, 1987). In the present series of studies the experimental environment used by Chapuis et al (1987) was created as a 3-D simulation and this was used to test human participants.

28 Communication Theory 2005 The Shortcut study 24 able-bodied children with a mean age of 13.6 years 34 physically disabled children, with a mean age of 14.1 years, was divided into two sub-groups based on their history of mobility (rated by their teacher as more mobile when they were younger or less mobile when they were younger).

29 Communication Theory 2005 The environment consisted of five pathways connecting four rooms that appeared identical from the outside. N.B. A series of pilot studies had established that 4 large cues were optimal for spatial orientation within this environment

30 Communication Theory 2005

31 children explored a simulated "maze" comprising four rooms linked by runways. In a subsequent test, they were asked to take shortcuts between target room locations. For example, they were asked to explore the route between room A and room B (all other pathways were blocked by no entry barriers). They were then asked to explore the path between rooms C and D, and then between rooms A and D. In the testing phase all the barriers were removed and participants were placed in room C and asked to find room B by the shortest route available.

32 Communication Theory 2005 Results In the first shortcut test the probability of choosing a correct path by chance alone was 33%, while the probability was 50% on the second test. Approximately 70% of the able bodied group selected the shortcut correctly on both tests, significantly exceeding chance levels. The 'more mobile group,' while not performing better than chance on the first test (approximately 45% correct), scored better than chance on the second test with 80% correct. The 'less mobile' group only scored approximately 45% correct on both tests and therefore did not perform better than chance on either test.

33 Communication Theory 2005 Conclusion These results add further weight to the argument that early independent exploration is essential for the development of cognitive spatial mapping ability in children, and suggest that these early influences persist at least into the early teenage years.

34 Communication Theory 2005 2. Studies of Repeated Exposure examining whether repeated exploration of several virtual environments promotes better encoding of virtual environments in general. A series of studies, including 3D vs 2D training skills disabled children acquired using virtual environments improved with exposure to successive environments However did not show an improvement in general spatial skills (assessed by Money Road test and Shepard and Cooper tests adapted for children).

35 Communication Theory 2005 3. The AshField study Experimental group were 7 physically disabled children, 6 boys and one girl. They had a mean age of 12.3 years. The control group consisted of 7 undergraduate students, 2 female and 5 male with a mean age of 25.6 years. The primary section of Ash Field School in Leicester was created to-scale. The environment consisted of an entrance door with a corridor leading into a central area and nine rooms.

36 Communication Theory 2005

37 Procedure Experimental and control groups were subsequently taken to the real Ash Field school. Pointing accuracy was measured from two relative locations from which the children had completed computer pointing tasks in the simulation, along with a third untrained location. They were asked to estimate the direction of target objects from each of these locations using a hand operated pointing device. Finally, each participant completed two route tests. They were taken to a room and were asked to move directly to a target room. The first route was identical to the one trained within the simulation. The second route taken was between two different rooms.

38 Communication Theory 2005 Results Children were more accurate than controls in pointing to landmarks that were not directly visible from three separate testing sites (F(1,12) = 67.54, p < 0.01). They not only completed the tasks previously trained in the virtual school, but they also completed spatial tests that had not been trained in the virtual environment equally well. their way-finding ability (to adopt the shortest route between two locations) was also found to be more efficient than that of the control group (Mann-Whitney U test, z = 2.01, p < 0.05).

39 Communication Theory 2005 Conclusions These results support the conclusion that the children had acquired flexible, effective internal representations of the environment from the virtual simulation, enabling them to orient themselves from a number of different positions within the real environment. They add to the accumulating evidence that VE training transfers effectively to the real world and that this effect is evident even for people with physical disabilities whose spatial proficiency may be limited.

40 Communication Theory 2005 Key findings We are accumulating evidence of the positive effect of exploration of virtual environments on spatial navigational skills. We continue to examine whether skills learned in virtual environments transfer effectively to real world environments. The challenge is not only to examine transfer from a simulation to it's real world equivalent, but also to examine more generally whether spatial skills in the real world improve after virtual environment experience. Ultimate goal is to improve quality of life

41 Communication Theory 2005 Other issues Active versus passive exploration Drivers cognitive mapping skills Personal digital assistants and cognitive maps

42 Communication Theory 2005 References Foreman, N., Stanton, D., Wilson, P and Duffy H. (2003). Successful Transfer of Spatial Knowledge from a Virtual to a Real School Environment in Physically Disabled Children. Journal Of Experimental Psychology: Applied, Vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 67-74 Gibson, J. J. (1979). The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. Haber, R. N., & Hershenson, M. (1973). The Psychology of Visual Perception. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. Lynch, K. (1960). The Image of the City. Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press. McGee, M. (1982). Spatial Abilities: The Influence of Genetic Factors. In M. Potegal (ed.) Spatial Abilities- Development and Physiological Foundation. New York: Academic Press. O'Keefe, J., & Nadel L. (1978). The hippocampus as a cognitive map. London: Oxford University Press. Regian, J. W., Shebilske, W. L., & Monk, J. M. (1992). Virtual Reality: An Instructional Medium for Visuo- Spatial Tasks. Journal of Communication, 4, 136-149. Siegel, A. W., & White, S. H. (1975). The development of spatial representations of large-scale environments. Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 10, 9-55. Stanton, D., Wilson, P. and Foreman, N. (2003). Human shortcut performance in a computer-simulated maze: A comparative study. Spatial Cognition and Computation. 3(4)315-329. Stanton, D., Wilson, P., and Foreman, N. (2002). Effects of early mobility on shortcut performance in a simulated maze. Behavioural Brain Research.Elsevier, Vol. 136, pp. 61-66 Thorndyke, P. W., & Hayes-Roth, B. (1982). Differences in spatial knowledge acquired from maps and navigation. Cognitive Psychology, 14, 560-589. Tolman, E. C. (1948). Cognitive maps in rats and men. Psychological Review, 55, 189-208. Wilson, P. N., Foreman, N., Gillett, R., and Stanton, D. (1997). Active versus passive processing of spatial information in a computer simulated environment. Ecological Psychology, 9(3), 207-222.

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