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Navigating Virtual Spaces

Milbradt, Alexa
Abstract
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This study aims to understand better understand individual differences in spatial navigation performance. The researchers tested participants’ abilities using a Morris water maze, a standard design that manipulates proximal (close) and distal (far away) cues and simulates free roaming navigation. The present study assesses individual differences like gender, temperament, navigation experiences, and neural asymmetry using electroencephalogram (EEG) and independent component analysis (ICA). In addition, two novel measures were used to determine spatial navigation experiences. Thirty college students and community members were recruited for the study. After filling out survey measures, participants completed three computer tasks: a neural asymmetry task, a proximal only water maze, and a distal only water maze. EEG activity was measured throughout the tasks to better understand how difference navigation cues can affect cortical activity. The results of this study are preliminary and need to be researched further. Preliminary findings suggest that women are more likely to have anxious characteristics. There is marginal significance in these characteristics correlating to poor maze performance. In addition, sense of direction had a strong negative correlation with these anxious characteristics. This lab will continue to run participants, and further analysis on individual differences and EEG activity will be performed in the future using these data.
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University of Wyoming. Libraries
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Keywords
Spatial Navigation , Morris water maze , Virtual Maze , EEG , electroencephalogram , Independent Component Analysis , ICA , individual differences , BIS , neuroticism , distal and proximal navigation , spatial cognition
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