Do environmental characteristics predict spatial memory about unfamiliar environments?
SourceSpatial Cognition & Computation
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Using Space Syntax techniques, we examined the relationship between environmental properties and spatial memory following navigation in a virtual environment. Participants navigated two main routes as well as two connector routes, memorizing landmark locations in the main routes. Memory was then examined through a pointing task and a model-building task. Participants pointed more accurately to locations of higher axial connectivity, integration, and choice, but pointed less accurately from those locations. Converging results were obtained with measures of visual connectivity, integration, and through vision. The findings suggest that environmental properties – including connectivity and integration, the locations’ intervisibility, and their grouping on the route type (same vs. different) – account well for the way spatial information is stored in and retrieved from memory.