I6-[NavTalk] - Overview

Human Spatial Inference in Navigation and Language

Adult humans navigating in buildings and street networks do not perceive their surroundings with a blank mind; rather, previous experience leadsto systematic expectations both about the structure of certain types of environments, and the options for navigating in them. Such mental presuppositions supplement the information that wayfinders actually receive via perceiving the real world, and via maps, signs, and linguistic descriptions. As a consequence, inference processes support the wayfinders’ task of navigating in partially unknown environments. We address the ways in which humans make inferences during complex navigation tasks by investigating wayfinding behavior in controlled experiments in virtual environments as well as in naturalistic environments indoors and outdoors. The behavioral results of these navigation experiments are analyzed in tandem with language data collected via think-aloud protocols and retrospective reports.