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The effect of navigational expertise on wayfinding in new environments

Woollett, K; Maguire, EA; (2010) The effect of navigational expertise on wayfinding in new environments. Journal of Environmental Psychology , 30 (4) 565 - 573. 10.1016/j.jenvp.2010.03.003. Gold open access

Abstract

Becoming proficient at navigation in urban environments is something that we all aspire to Here we asked whether being an expert at wayfinding in one environment has any effect on learning new spatial layouts Licensed London taxi drivers are among the most proficient urban navigators training for many years to find their way around a complex and irregularly-laid out city We first tested how well they could learn the layout of an unfamiliar town compared with a group of non-taxi drivers Second we investigated how effectively taxi drivers could integrate a new district into their existing spatial representation of London We found that taxi drivers were significantly better than control participants at executing routes through the new town and representing it at a map-like survey level However the benefits of navigational expertise were not universal Compared with their performance in the new town taxi drivers were significantly poorer at learning the layout of a new area that had to be integrated with their existing knowledge of London We consider reasons for this picture of facilitation and limitation in particular drawing parallels with how knowledge acquisition occurs in the context of expertise in general (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved

Type:Article
Title:The effect of navigational expertise on wayfinding in new environments
Open access status:An open access publication
DOI:10.1016/j.jenvp.2010.03.003
Language:English
Keywords:Navigation, Taxi drivers, Spatial memory, Routes, Hippocampus, COGNITION, ACQUISITION, PERFORMANCE, INFORMATION, KNOWLEDGE, MAPS, TAXI
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience

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