Individual Skill Differences and Large-Scale Environmental Learning

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Spatial skills are known to vary widely among normal individuals. This project was designed to address whether these individual differences are differentially related to large-scale environmental learning from route (ground-level) and survey (aerial) perspectives. Participants learned two virtual environments (route and survey) with limited exposure and tested on judgments about relative locations of objects. They also performed a series of spatial and nonspatial component skill tests. With limited learning, performance after route encoding was worse than performance after survey encoding. Furthermore, performance after route and survey encoding appeared to be preferentially linked to perspective and object-based transformations, respectively. Together, the results provide clues to how different skills might be engaged by different individuals for the same goal of learning a large-scale environment.

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