The Effect of Goals on Memory for Human Mazes in Real and Virtual Space

Abstract

Walking around one’s environment is usually associated with a goal. However, little is known regarding the influence of goals on memory for distance and time in ‘cognitive maps’. In two experiments we investigated the effect of goals of varying urgency on immediate memory for distance and time in real human mazes and virtual reality (VR) versions of the same mazes. Experiment 1 compared the effect of goals varying in urgency on memory for distance and time in a straight- line real space human maze and a VR maze. Experiment 2 examined the effect of goals on a real maze with multiple turns. Results show that goals effect distance estimation for straight line paths in both real space and VR space. However, evidence of the influence of goals is mediated by the number of right-angled turns in real space.


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