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Virtual navigation tested on a mobile app is predictive of real-world wayfinding navigation performance

Coutrot, A; Schmidt, S; Coutrot, L; Pittman, J; Hong, L; Wiener, JM; Hölscher, C; ... Spiers, HJ; + view all (2019) Virtual navigation tested on a mobile app is predictive of real-world wayfinding navigation performance. PLoS One , 14 (3) , Article e0213272. 10.1371/journal.pone.0213272. Green open access

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Abstract

Virtual reality environments presented on tablets and smartphones have potential to aid the early diagnosis of conditions such as Alzheimer's dementia by quantifying impairments in navigation performance. However, it is unclear whether performance on mobile devices can predict navigation errors in the real world. We compared the performance of 49 participants (25 females, 18-35 years old) at wayfinding and path integration tasks designed in our mobile app 'Sea Hero Quest' with their performance at similar tasks in a real-world environment. We first performed this experiment in the streets of London (UK) and replicated it in Paris (France). In both cities, we found a significant correlation between virtual and real-world wayfinding performance and a male advantage in both environments, although smaller in the real world (Cohen's d in the game = 0.89, in the real world = 0.59). Results in London and Paris were highly similar, and controlling for familiarity with video games did not change the results. The strength of the correlation between real world and virtual environment increased with the difficulty of the virtual wayfinding task, indicating that Sea Hero Quest does not merely capture video gaming skills. The fact that the Sea Hero Quest wayfinding task has real-world ecological validity constitutes a step toward controllable, sensitive, safe, low-cost, and easy to administer digital cognitive assessment of navigation ability.

Type: Article
Title: Virtual navigation tested on a mobile app is predictive of real-world wayfinding navigation performance
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0213272
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0213272
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright: © 2019 Coutrot et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10071628
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