Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Nathan Bowling (Committee Member), Herbert Colle (Advisor), Robert Gilkey (Committee Member), Valerie Shalin (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Current car navigation systems use maps that show part of a region and are sequentially presented as the driver moves along a route, displaying information that is relevant to immediate guidance, such as the surrounding streets and turn indicators. Rizzardo, Colle, McGregor, and Wylie (2013) have shown that sequentially presented, partial maps populated with landmark objects can also facilitate spatial knowledge acquisition. Spatial knowledge is useful for evaluating GPS instructions and navigating after the fact. However, the optimal number of landmarks on map segments has not been extensively tested. The Object-Based Spatial-Episodic Representations for Visual Environments (OBSERVE) theory indicates that sets of landmark object-relations are an important component of spatial learning. Landmark objects do not necessarily need to form a metric coordinate system, although sets of objects may have quantitative spatial (e.g., angular) relations among themselves, learned episodically (Colle, 2015). The number of concurrent landmark icons present on map segments was manipulated to determine the optimal range of landmark object-relations that can facilitate learning spatial knowledge of a complete region. Participants viewed a series of map segments showing a car being guided on a route with two, four, or six landmarks present on each segment, and then participants drew sketchmaps of the complete region through which the car drove. Configural spatial knowledge of the layout was measured by comparing the angular relations between pairs of landmarks on the participants' sketchmaps and the region's actual angular relations between those same pairs. Results indicate that a range of two to four landmarks per map segment that are trip-relevant is appropriate for acquiring configural spatial knowledge.

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Department or Program

Department of Psychology

Year Degree Awarded


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.