Multiple Views of Space: Continuous Visual Flow Enhances Small-Scale Spatial Learning

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In the real word, we perceive our environment as a series of static and dynamic views, with viewpoint transitions providing a natural link from one static view to the next. The current research examined if experiencing such transitions is fundamental to learning the spatial layout of small-scale displays. In Experiment 1, participants viewed a tabletop array from 4 orientations in 1 of 3 conditions. The control condition presented the array sequentially, as a series of static views. In the remaining conditions, participants experienced the transition between viewpoints by rotating the array or moving around it. Both transitions improved spatial performance. Experiment 2 added a passive rotation condition to examine the effect of watching the transition without actively generating it. Spatial performance was equivalent across active and passive rotation conditions, with both outperforming static views. Together, these findings suggest that continuous visual flow is key to small-scale spatial learning.

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