Physical exploration of a virtual reality environment: Effects on spatiotemporal associative recognition of episodic memory

Daniël van Helvoort*, Emil Stobbe, Richard Benning, Henry Otgaar, Vincent van de Ven

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Associative memory has been increasingly investigated in immersive virtual reality (VR) environments, but conditions that enable physical exploration remain heavily under-investigated. To address this issue, we designed two museum rooms in VR throughout which participants could physically walk (i.e., high immersive and interactive fidelity). Participants were instructed to memorize all room details, which each contained nine paintings and two stone sculptures. On a subsequent old/new recognition task, we examined to what extent shared associated context (i.e., spatial boundaries, ordinal proximity) and physically travelled distance between paintings facilitated recognition of paintings from the museum rooms. Participants more often correctly recognized a sequentially probed old painting when the directly preceding painting was encoded within the same room or in a proximal position, relative to those encoded across rooms or in a distal position. A novel finding was that sequentially probed paintings from the same room were also recognized better when the physically travelled spatial or temporal distance between the probed paintings was shorter, as compared with longer distances. Taken together, our results in highly immersive VR support the notion that spatiotemporal context facilitates recognition of associated event content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-703
Number of pages13
JournalMemory & Cognition
Volume48
Issue number5
Early online date26 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

Keywords

  • Episodic memory
  • Associative recognition
  • Event segmentation
  • Interactive fidelity
  • Virtual reality
  • NEURAL REPRESENTATION
  • ACTIVE NAVIGATION
  • HUMAN HIPPOCAMPUS
  • CONTEXT
  • BOUNDARIES
  • RETRIEVAL
  • MODELS
  • TIME
  • PERCEPTION
  • BINDING

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