Spatial learning in computer-simulated environments.
thesisposted on 19.11.2015, 08:58 by Michael. Tlauka
In 10 experiments spatial learning in computer-simulated environments was investigated. Part 1 of the thesis examined whether navigational learning in real and computer-simulated environments is comparable. Two methods were used to fulfil this aim. First, learning in equivalent real and computer-simulated environments was directly compared. Second, the properties of mental representations from learning in a simulated environment were investigated in an attempt to examine whether they are similar to the properties of mental representations from comparable learning experiences in the real world. The results of both methods indicated that the cognitive processes involved in learning in real and computer-simulated environments are similar. Part 2 of the thesis was concerned with the effect of landmarks on learning in large-scale and small-scale computer-simulated environments. With respect to learning in large-scale environments, the results showed that landmarks can aid route-learning. A positive effect of landmarks on route-learning was found to be dependent on a successsful suppression of alternative learning strategies. With respect to learning in small-scale environments, landmarks were shown to aid people's memory for spatial locations. It is concluded that computer simulations have a great potential for research into spatial learning. Using such simulations it is possible to address research questions which otherwise may be difficult or impossible to examine.