Male superiority in the field of spatial navigation has been reported upon by many studies. Also there have been indications that men and women handle environmental navigation in different ways, with men preferring Euclidian navigation and women using mostly topographic techniques. Strangely, no studies had investigated whether or not these differences between men and women were caused by the way the study environment was made, perhaps favoring Euclidian navigation over more topographic navigation.
Landmarks and Time-pressure in Virtual Navigation: Towards Designing Gender-neutral Virtual Environments
Student Elena Gavrielidou experimented with enhancing virtual environments with landmarks – lamps, plants, tables, etcetera. Her experimental results showed that women benefit enormously from such landmarks, making them navigate at standards comparable to that of men. Moreover, men appeared to use the same landmarks only when performing under (time-)pressure.
Elena’s ideas and results can be applied in for example car-navigation software, to make it more in line with how females navigate. This solid scientific study is a good example of experimental work by Media Technology students.