Spatial Updating With(out) Physical Motions?

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How impor­tant are phys­i­cal motions for effec­tive spa­tial ori­en­ta­tion in VR?

Most vir­tual real­ity sim­u­la­tors have a  seri­ous flaw: Users tend to get easily lost and dis­ori­ented as they nav­i­gate. According to the pre­vail­ing opin­ion, this is because phys­i­cal motion cues are absolutely required for stay­ing ori­ented while moving. In this study, we inves­ti­gated how phys­i­cal motion cues con­tribute to spa­tial updat­ing in a real­is­tic and highly struc­tured vir­tual envi­ron­ment, using a rapid point-to-origin par­a­digm with­out per­for­mance feedback.

After visu­ally dis­played pas­sive move­ments along curved streets, par­tic­i­pants were asked to point back to where they started. In some con­di­tions they phys­i­cally rotated with the curve, in others they only received visual motion cues. Results showed that phys­i­cal motion cues did not affect point­ing error or response time sig­nif­i­cantly. This sug­gests the pos­si­bil­ity that phys­i­cal motion cues might be unnec­es­sary if visu­als are real­is­tic enough. Furthermore, two par­tic­i­pants unex­pect­edly exhib­ited ‘non-turning’ point­ing behav­ior, react­ing as if they had not updated their head­ings during move­ments across all con­di­tions. Implications and follow-up stud­ies are discussed.

Below is a video of Salvar Sigurdarson’s first ever con­fer­ence talk at the IEEE Virtual Reality con­fer­ence enti­tled “Can phys­i­cal motions pre­vent dis­ori­en­ta­tion in nat­u­ral­is­tic VR?”.

And here’s a more recent pre­sen­ta­tion from Bernhard on online spa­tial ori­en­ta­tion study and the rather unex­pected response pat­terns that we observed — and how we might be able to make sense of them.

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Here’s the ref­er­ence for the talk: Riecke, B. E., Stepanova, E. R., & Kitson, A. 2016. New response pat­terns in point-to-origin tasks depend­ing on stim­u­lus type and response mode. Talk pre­sented at the International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Granada, Spain.

Which direc­tion is the origin of motion for this visu­ally sim­u­lated loco­mo­tion in Virtual Reality? The below video shows a visu­ally sim­u­lated loco­mo­tion of a 2-segment path in a simple vir­tual envi­ron­ment with­out  any land­marks (i.e., just pro­vid­ing “optic flow”). Your point­ing response can reveals whether you are a “Turner” or “NonTurner”, i.e., whether you tend to incor­po­rate the rota­tion into your point­ing response (and thus mental spa­tial rep­re­sen­ta­tion) or not.

Related Publications

Nguyen-Vo, T., & Riecke, B. E. (2017, November). Detecting Spatial Orientation Demand during Virtual Navigation using EEG Brain Sensing. Poster pre­sented at the Psychonomic Society 58th Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Download)
Riecke, B. E., Stepanova, E. R., & Kitson, A. (2016, May). New response pat­terns in point-to-origin tasks depend­ing on stim­u­lus type and response mode. Talk pre­sented at the International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Granada, Spain. Retrieved from http://www.ps2016.org/
Kitson, A., Sproll, D., & Riecke, B. E. (2016). Influence of Ethnicity, Gender and Answering Mode on a Virtual Point– to-Origin Task. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 11(22). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00022 (Download)
Kitson, A., Riecke, B. E., & Stepanova, E. R. (2015). Influence of Movement Expertise on a Virtual Point-to– Origin Task (pp. 100–103). Presented at the MOCO’15 – 2nd International Workshop on Movement and Computing, Vancouver, Canada: ACM. https://doi.org/10.1145/2790994.2791014 (Download)
Kitson, A., Sproll, D., & Riecke, B. E. (2014). Does Movement Experience Influence Navigation Strategy in a Virtual Point-to-Origin Task? Poster pre­sented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society (Psychonomics), Los Angeles, USA. (Download)
Sproll, D. (2013, November). Influence of Ethnicity, Gender and Answering Mode on Reference Frame Selection for Virtual Point-to-Origin Tasks (BSc Thesis). Universität Osnabrück & Simon Fraser University, Osnabrück, Germany & Surrey, BC, Canada. (Download)
Riecke, B. E., & Sigurdarson, S. (2013). Simple Modifications of Visuals can Enhance Spatial Orientation Ability in Virtual Environments, Whereas Adding Physical Rotations May Not. Talk pre­sented at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society (Psychonomics), Toronto, Canada.
Gramann, K., Wing, S., Jung, T.-P., Viirre, E., & Riecke, B. E. (2012). Switching spa­tial ref­er­ence frames for yaw and pitch nav­i­ga­tion. Spatial Cognition and Computation, 12(2−3), 159–194. https://doi.org/10.1080/13875868.2011.645176 (Download)
Riecke, B. E. (2012). Are Left-Right Hemisphere Errors in Point-to-Origin Tasks in VR Caused by Failure to Incorporate Heading Changes? Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 7463, 143–162. https://doi.org/10.1007/978–3-642–32732-2_9 (Download)
Riecke, B. E., Sigurdarson, S., & Milne, A. P. (2012). Moving Through Virtual Reality Without Moving? Cognitive Processing, 13(1), 293–297. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10339-012‑0491-7 (Download)
Sigurdarson, S., Milne, A. P., Feuereissen, D., & Riecke, B. E. (2012). Can phys­i­cal motions pre­vent dis­ori­en­ta­tion in nat­u­ral­is­tic VR? In IEEE Virtual Reality (pp. 31–34). Orange County, CA, USA. https://doi.org/10.1109/VR.2012.6180874 (Download)
Gramann, K., Riecke, B. E., Wing, S., Jung, T.-P., & Viirre, E. (2010). Brain dynam­ics asso­ci­ated with nav­i­ga­tion in 3-D space. Talk pre­sented at the Neuroscience 40th Annual Meeting, San Diego, CA, USA.
Riecke, B. E. (2008). Consistent Left-Right Reversals for Visual Path Integration in Virtual Reality: More than a Failure to Update One’s Heading? Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments, 17(2), 143–175. https://doi.org/10.1162/pres.17.2.143 (Download)
Riecke, B. E., & Wiener, J. M. (2007). Can People Not Tell Left from Right in VR? Point-to-origin Studies Revealed Qualitative Errors in Visual Path Integration. In Proceedings of IEEE Virtual Reality 2007 (pp. 3–10). https://doi.org/http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/VR.2007.352457 (Download)
Riecke, B. E., & Wiener, J. M. (2006). Point-to-origin exper­i­ments in VR revealed novel qual­i­ta­tive errors in visual path inte­gra­tion. In ACM SIGGRAPH 2006 Research posters. https://doi.org/http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1179622.1179840 (Download)
Riecke, B. E., & Wiener, J. M. (2007). Consistent Left-Right Errors for Visual Path Integration in Virtual Reality: More Than a Failure to Update One’s Heading? In 4th ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization (APGV) (p. 139). New York, NY, USA: ACM Press. https://doi.org/10.1145/1140491.1140533 (Download)
Riecke, B. E., & Wiener, J. M. (2006). Point-to-origin exper­i­ments in VR revealed novel qual­i­ta­tive errors in visual path inte­gra­tion. In 3rd ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization (APGV) (p. 156). https://doi.org/10.1145/1179622.1179840 (Download)