Navigating with peripheral field loss in a museum: learning impairments due to environmental complexity

Erica M. Barhorst-Cates, Kristina M. Rand, Sarah H. Creem-Regehr
2019 Cognitive Research  
Previous research has found that spatial learning while navigating in novel spaces is impaired with extreme restricted peripheral field of view (FOV) (remaining FOV of 4°, but not of 10°) in an indoor environment with long hallways and mostly orthogonal turns. Here we tested effects of restricted peripheral field on a similar real-world spatial learning task in an art museum, a more challenging environment for navigation because of valuable obstacles and unpredictable paths, in which
more » ... s were guided along paths through the museum and learned the locations of pieces of art. At the end of each path, participants pointed to the remembered landmarks. Throughout the spatial learning task, participants completed a concurrent auditory reaction time task to measure cognitive load. Unlike the previous study in a typical hallway environment, spatial learning was impaired with a simulated 10° FOV compared to a wider 60° FOV, as indicated by greater average pointing error with restricted FOV. Reaction time to the secondary task also revealed slower responses, suggesting increased attentional demands. We suggest that the presence of a spatial learning deficit in the current experiment with this level of FOV restriction is due to the complex and unpredictable paths traveled in the museum environment. Our results also convey the importance of the study of low-vision spatial cognition in irregularly structured environments that are representative of many real-world settings, which may increase the difficulty of spatial learning while navigating.
doi:10.1186/s41235-019-0189-9 pmid:31641893 pmcid:PMC6805832 fatcat:oksmqy2nevduhf4cxq76urwfyu