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]. Psychonomic Society 58th Annual Meeting, Vancouver, BC, Canada. (Download)
Nguyen-Vo, T., DiPaola, S., & Riecke, B. E. (2017). Detecting Spatial Orientation Demands during Virtual Navigation using EEG Brain Sensing. 1–5. https://youtu.be/-2gKhvxUGxg (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]. International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society, Granada, Spain. https://youtu.be/miiPjAUb77Y
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. 100–103. 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]. 55th Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society (Psychonomics), Los Angeles, USA. (Download)
Sproll, D. (2013). Influence of Ethnicity, Gender and Answering Mode on Reference Frame Selection for Virtual Point-to-Origin Tasks [BSc Thesis]. Universität Osnabrück & Simon Fraser University. (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]. 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? IEEE Virtual Reality, 31–34. 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]. 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. Proceedings of IEEE Virtual Reality 2007, 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. 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? 4th ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization (APGV), 139. 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. 3rd ACM SIGGRAPH Symposium on Applied Perception in Graphics and Visualization (APGV), 156. https://doi.org/10.1145/1179622.1179840 (Download)