Thursday, July 21, 2011

More Wayfinding

The Tourist, looking up at the sign, asked: Old-timer, both forks say "St. Johnsbury." Does it matter which of these roads I take?

Eben Jenkins shook his head. "Not to me it don't."

Carol Lawton of Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne has research showing there are significant gender differences in wayfinding, as I had suspected. Females use landmarks more often, males use cardinal points of the compass. I still cannot find any definitions which says whether the cardinal and overhead map methods are entirely the same thing.

Maybe this college that doesn't know where it is was a spur to her researching the subject. She has related research at the link.

Researchers at Taiwan Science University and University of Alabama have also found gender differences in navigation.

Here's research on differences of scale affecting testing. More interestingly, skill in small-scale navigation is distinct from skill in large-scale. They don't seem to have considered the egocentric/allocentric difference for this.

And for further exploration on your own, this paper on defining Wayfinding more precisely includes one of those nice lists of other articles that cite it, leading you on to branching research.

1 comment:

Gringo said...

Newcomers to rural New England who have come from areas with roads that follow straight lines sometimes get confused at the directions in New England.

"Go straight? That damned road had three changes of direction in a mile!"

Local reaction: you sure that wasn't three times in a quarter mile?

I would agree that males tend to go for compass directions, which doesn't mean that landmarks are useless.