Browsing Theses and Dissertations by Subject "Virtual Environments"
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WHERE AM I? INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN MEMORY, NAVIGATION ABILITY, AND NAVIGATION STRATEGYNavigation proficiency - the ability to find and recall new and familiar locations - varies widely among individuals (e.g., Schinazi, Epstein, Nardi, Newcombe, & Shipley, 2013; Weisberg, Schinazi, Newcombe, Shipley, & Epstein, 2014). The cognitive processes that support effective navigation have been theoretically sketched out (e.g., Wolbers & Hegarty, 2010), but how do those processes contribute to aspects of and individual differences in navigation behavior? Using a virtual environment to assess navigation proficiency (Weisberg et al., 2014), we conducted two studies to investigate whether individual differences in navigating meaningfully relate to memory capacity (Study1) and navigation strategy (Study 2). Results from Study 1 suggest that working memory capacity may limit some participants' ability to build accurate cognitive maps. Using a virtual environment paradigm based on the rodent T-maze (Marchette, Bakker, & Shelton, 2011), Study 2 shows that good navigators do not prefer to use a place-based strategy over a response-based strategy, but there was an interaction between strategy selection and goals found. Good navigators who used a place-based strategy found more goals than good navigators who used a response-based strategy; the opposite was true for bad navigators. Emerging from this set of studies is a richer picture of how individual differences in cognitive traits (i.e., working memory capacity), and strategy choice relate to navigation proficiency.