Landmarks and Time-pressure in Virtual Navigation: Towards Designing Gender-neutral Virtual Environments
Male superiority in the field of spatial navigation has been reported upon, numerous times, and although 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, we have found no reported links between those differences and the shortcomings of women on ground of ineffective environment design. We propose the enhancement of a virtual environment with landmarks; a technique we hypothesize could aid the performance of women without impairing that of men. In addition we touch upon a novel side of spatial navigation, with the introduction of time pressure in the virtual environment. Our results show that women benefit tremendously from landmarks in un-stressed situations, while men only utilize them successfully when they are under time-pressure. Furthermore we are reporting on the beneficial impact that time-pressure has on men in terms of performance while navigating in a virtual environment.
Elena Gavrielidou, "Landmarks and Time-pressure in Virtual Navigation: Towards Designing Gender-neutral Virtual Environments", Master's Thesis for the Media Technology programme, Leiden University (The Netherlands), 2008