Place learning in virtual space III: Investigation of spatial navigation training procedures and their application to fMRI and clinical neuropsychology

Kevin G.F. Thomas, Ming Hsu, Holly E. Laurance, Lynn Nadel, W. Jake Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


This paper describes the utilization of a desktop virtual environment task, the Computer-Generated (C-G) Arena, in the study of human spatial navigation. First, four experiments examined the efficacy of various training procedures in the C-G Arena. In Experiment 1, participants efficiently located a hidden target after only observing the virtual environment from a fixed position (placement learning). In Experiment 2, participants efficiently located a hidden target after only observing an experimenter search the virtual environment (observational learning). In Experiment 3, participants failed to display a latent learning effect in the virtual environment. In Experiment 4, all training procedures effectively taught participants the layout of the virtual environment, but the observational learning procedure most effectively taught participants the location of a hidden target within the environment. Finally, two experiments demonstrated the application of C-G Arena procedures to neuroimaging (Experiment 5) and neuropsychological (Experiment 6) investigations of human spatial navigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-37
Number of pages17
JournalBehavior Research Methods, Instruments, and Computers
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2001


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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