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Cognitive and environmental factors influencing the process of spatial knowledge acquisition within virtual reality environments

Kyritsis, M. ORCID:, Gulliver, S. ORCID: and Morar, S. (2014) Cognitive and environmental factors influencing the process of spatial knowledge acquisition within virtual reality environments. International Journal of Artificial Life Research, 4 (1). pp. 43-58. ISSN 1947-3087

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To link to this item DOI: 10.4018/ijalr.2014010104


As the fidelity of virtual environments (VE) continues to increase, the possibility of using them as training platforms is becoming increasingly realistic for a variety of application domains, including military and emergency personnel training. In the past, there was much debate on whether the acquisition and subsequent transfer of spatial knowledge from VEs to the real world is possible, or whether the differences in medium during training would essentially be an obstacle to truly learning geometric space. In this paper, the authors present various cognitive and environmental factors that not only contribute to this process, but also interact with each other to a certain degree, leading to a variable exposure time requirement in order for the process of spatial knowledge acquisition (SKA) to occur. The cognitive factors that the authors discuss include a variety of individual user differences such as: knowledge and experience; cognitive gender differences; aptitude and spatial orientation skill; and finally, cognitive styles. Environmental factors discussed include: Size, Spatial layout complexity and landmark distribution. It may seem obvious that since every individual's brain is unique - not only through experience, but also through genetic predisposition that a one size fits all approach to training would be illogical. Furthermore, considering that various cognitive differences may further emerge when a certain stimulus is present (e.g. complex environmental space), it would make even more sense to understand how these factors can impact spatial memory, and to try to adapt the training session by providing visual/auditory cues as well as by changing the exposure time requirements for each individual. The impact of this research domain is important to VE training in general, however within service and military domains, guaranteeing appropriate spatial training is critical in order to ensure that disorientation does not occur in a life or death scenario.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Henley Business School > Business Informatics, Systems and Accounting
ID Code:37894
Publisher:IGI Global

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