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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Visuo-Locomotive Update in the Wild: The Role of (Un)Familiarity in Choice of Navigation Strategy, and its Application in Computational Spatial Design


We study active human visuo-locomotive experience in everyday navigation from the viewpoints of environmental familiarity, embodied reorientation, and (sensorimotor) spatial update. Following a naturalistic, in situ, embodied multimodal behaviour analysis method, we conclude that familiar users rely on environmental cues as a navigation-aid and exhibit proactive decision-making, whereas unfamiliar users rely on manifest cues, are late in decision-making, and show no sign of sensorimotor spatial update. Qualitative analysis reveals that both groups are able to sketch-map their route and consider path integration: i.e., conscious spatial representation updating was possible but not preferred during active navigation. Overall, the experimental task did not trigger automatic or reflexlike spatial updating, as subjects preferred strategies involving memory of perceptual cues and available manifest cues instead of relying on motor simulation and continuous spatial update. Rooted in the behavioural outcomes, we also position applications in computational modelling of navigation within cognitive technologies for architectural design synthesis.

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