Investigating route learning, metacognition, and beacon-based strategies using virtual environments.

In this paper we present three different experiments to provide a comprehensive picture of whether adults can learn complex routes consisting of a number of choicepoints, and if so, what strategies they might be employing to do so. We found that adults could learn a 15-junction route after only a single experience of the route (Experiment 1) but that they underestimated how good they would be at learning the 15-junction route (Experiment 2). In Experiment 3, we found that when learning a route made up of ‘T’ shaped junctions, participants relied on a ‘beacon’ strategy based on visual matching. Collectively, these findings suggest that adults can learn complex routes, even with as many as 15 choicepoints, very quickly and without the need for repeated exposure. These findings have implications for theories of wayfinding and call into question the need for repeated exposure.

Jamie Lingwood
Research Fellow

My research interests include language development, language processing, and shared book reading.