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Labate, Enia (2014) Acquisition of spatial knowledge during navigation: the role of internal and external factors. [Tesi di dottorato]

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Abstract (inglese)

The general aim of this project of research was to investigate the role of internal and external factors involved in the construction of a spatial representation during navigation. The main question of this dissertation was: do we need the same type of memory to retrace a route and find a shortcut? In other words: which type of memory is involved in the construction of route and survey representation respectively?
In research the main question is about the role of working memory in the construction of spatial representation. According to Baddeley's model (1986), working memory is not a unitary system, but it is possible to distinguish an attentional control system—the central executive—and two subsystems—the phonological loop and the visuospatial sketchpad, which encodes and maintains verbal information and visuospatial information, respectively (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974). Until now, research carried out to date on spatial representation has looked at the role of verbal (VWM) and visuo-spatial (VSWM) working memory in the construction of route representation during navigation (Garden et al., 2002; Meilinguer et al., 2008). However it remains unclear the involvement of working memory in the construction of survey knowledge. In addition, the construction of survey representation, as recent frameworks suggested (Montello et al., 1999; Kitchin et al., 1994), seems to depend also on individual difference, but little is known about the role of external factors such as the presence of landmarks or the influence of specific instructions in guiding navigation behaviour. A series of four experiments was carried out. In all experiments we investigated the role of both subcomponents of working memory through classic paradigm of dual task. Participants learned a route in a virtual (Experiments 1, 3 and 4,) or real environment (Experiment 2) performing spatial or verbal secondary task simultaneously. Reproduction of the route, pointing task, drawing map and finding a shortcut were used to investigate the construction of route and survey representation during navigation. Our results supported that the ability to retrace a route depends on encoding and maintaining the information in VWM and VSW whereas the ability to find a shortcut seems to be related on the involvement of VSWM (Experiment 1 – 2). In addition, our results confirmed that there are large individual differences in both ability to learn spatial layout and in how spatial layout is preferentially encoded (Experiment 2), and added that the sense of direction becomes the predictor of the acquisition of survey knowledge in the learning conditions without landmarks (Experiment 3). Moreover our results showed that the process of acquisition of spatial knowledge implicates also external factors, demonstrating, specifically, that the presence of landmarks and receiving specific instructions about the task facilitate the construction of mental representation (Experiment 4). In conclusion our results add to the growing body of literature supporting that the acquisition of spatial knowledge is a multi-level process influenced by internal and external factors.

Abstract (italiano)

Lo scopo del presente progetto di ricerca era indagare il ruolo di fattori interni ed esterni coinvolti nella costruzione di una rappresentazione spaziale durante la navigazione. Il quesito principale: per riprodurre un percorso e per trovare una scorciatoia è necessario lo stesso tipo di memoria? In altre parole: quale tipo di memoria è coinvolta rispettivamente nella costruzione di una rappresentazione route e survey? La letteratura ha indagato il ruolo della memoria di lavoro nella costruzione di una rappresentazione spaziale. La memoria di lavoro, secondo il modello proposto da Baddeley (1986), non è un sistema unitario, ma è costituita da un sistema di controllo attenzionale – l'esecutivo centrale – e due subcomponenti – phonological loop e visuospatial sketchpad – che codificano, rispettivamente, informazioni verbali e spaziali (Baddeley & Hitch, 1974). Gli studi condotti fino ad oggi, si sono maggiormente focalizzati sul ruolo della componente verbale e visuo-spaziale della memoria di lavoro nella costruzione di una rappresentazione spaziale route durante la navigazione (Garden et al., 2002; Meilinguer et al., 2008). Tuttavia, resta non chiaro il coinvolgimento della memoria di lavoro nella costruzione di una rappresentazione spaziale survey. La costruzione di una rappresentazione survey, come suggerito da recenti frameworks (Montello et al., 1999; Kitchin et al., 1994), risulta essere influenzata da differenze individuali, ma poco è noto rispetto al ruolo di fattori esterni, come la presenza di landmarks nell'ambiente o l'influenza di specifiche istruzioni nel guidare la navigazione. Sono stati condotti quattro studi. In tutti gli esperimenti è stato indagato il ruolo delle sub- componenti della memoria di lavoro attraverso il paradigma del doppio compito. I partecipanti durante l'apprendimento di un percorso in ambiente virtuale (Esperimenti 1, 3 e 4) o reale (Esperimento 2) eseguivano, contemporaneamente, il doppio compito verbale o spaziale. Ai soggetti è stato richiesto di riprodurre il percorso, per indagare la costruzione della rappresentazione route, e di effettuare stime di direzione, disegnare una mappa e individuare una scorciatoia, per indagare la costruzione della rappresentazione survey. I nostri risultati hanno evidenziato che il processo di costruzione di una rappresentazione route implica il coinvolgimento della memoria di lavoro verbale e spaziale mentre il processo di costruzione di una rappresentazione survey sembra coinvolgere maggiormente la memoria di lavoro visuo-spaziale (Esperimenti 1 – 2). Inoltre i risultati hanno confermato che ci sono larghe differenze individuali nell'abilità di apprendere un layout spaziale (Esperimento 2) e ai dati presenti in letteratura, hanno aggiunto che il senso dell'orientamento predice l'abilità di acquisire informazione spaziale survey quando si naviga in un ambiente privo di landmarks (Esperimento 3). Infine, non di minore importanza, è il ruolo svolto da fattori esterni. Infatti dai dati è emerso che navigare in un ambiente con landmarks e ricevere specifiche istruzioni rispetto al compito, facilita il processo di costruzione di una rappresentazione spaziale (Esperimento 4). In conclusione il presente progetto di ricerca ha fornito un contributo al crescente corpo della letteratura dimostrando che l'acquisizione di conoscenza spaziale durante la navigazione, è un processo complesso influenzato da fattori sia interni che esterni.

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Tipo di EPrint:Tesi di dottorato
Relatore:Pazzaglia, Francesca
Dottorato (corsi e scuole):Ciclo 26 > Scuole 26 > SCIENZE PSICOLOGICHE
Data di deposito della tesi:30 Gennaio 2014
Anno di Pubblicazione:30 Gennaio 2014
Parole chiave (italiano / inglese):spatial representation/ working memory/virtual and real environment/ internal and external factors/shortcut task/rappresentazione spaziale/memoria di lavoro/ ambiente reale e virtuale/ruolo dei fattori interni ed esterni/compito della scorciatoia
Settori scientifico-disciplinari MIUR:Area 11 - Scienze storiche, filosofiche, pedagogiche e psicologiche > M-PSI/01 Psicologia generale
Struttura di riferimento:Dipartimenti > Dipartimento di Psicologia Generale
Codice ID:6684
Depositato il:14 Nov 2014 13:52
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