What Makes the Difference When Learning Spatial Information Using Language? The Contribution of Visuo-Spatial Individual Factors

Authors Chiara Meneghetti, Veronica Muffato

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Chiara Meneghetti
Veronica Muffato

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Chiara Meneghetti and Veronica Muffato. What Makes the Difference When Learning Spatial Information Using Language? The Contribution of Visuo-Spatial Individual Factors. In 13th International Conference on Spatial Information Theory (COSIT 2017). Leibniz International Proceedings in Informatics (LIPIcs), Volume 86, pp. 13:1-13:15, Schloss Dagstuhl – Leibniz-Zentrum für Informatik (2017)


Within the spatial cognition domain, increasing interest is being paid to identifying the factors able to support good-quality environment learning. The present study examined the role of several individual visuo-spatial factors in supporting representations derived from spatial language,using descriptions. A group of undergraduates performed visuo-spatial and verbal cognitive tasks and completed visuo-spatial questionnaires, then listened to descriptions of fictitious large-scale environments presented from survey (map-based) and route (person-based) views, and to non-spatial descriptions for control purposes. Their recall was assessed using a verification test and a graphical representation task. The results showed that: (i) verbal abilities support accuracy in recall tasks of spatial and non-spatial descriptions; (ii) visuo-spatial abilities, preferences (such as pleasure in exploring), and visuo-spatial strategies specifically support accuracy in recall tasks of spatial descriptions. The contribution of individual visuo-spatial factors varies, however, as a function of the type of description and the type of recall task: preference for the survey strategy seems more associated with performance in survey description recall and graphical representation. The results are discussed in the light of spatial learning models and in terms of their implications.
  • Spatial language
  • survey description
  • route description
  • visuo-spatial abilities
  • self-reported visuo-spatial factors


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