Sabrina Santos De León, Michael Starrett, PhD, and Liz Chrastil, PhD

Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto Río Piedras, University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine)

Spatial Navigation and awareness play an important aspect in memory, learning, attention, and decision making. It is already known that novel environments pose a challenge for subject exploration; however, the characterization of spatial navigation behaviors depending on instructions about the start and target has not yet been explored. We use virtual reality environments and behavioral analysis tools to explore the role of path direction order in spatial perception and navigation. Statistical evidence showed that path direction order had a significant effect in behavioral accuracy between the two conditions. Human subjects between the ages of 25 to 35 were able to complete a significantly greater number of trials when imparted the standard version of the instructions. However, the subjects’ general performance during these correct trials remained statistically unaffected. Our findings suggest that instruction rearrangement could take place in the brain to process and execute these tasks.

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