Effects of Travel Technique on Cognition in Virtual Environments


We performed a between-subjects experiment that compared four different methods of travel and their effect on cognition and paths taken in an immersive virtual environment (IVE). Participants answered a set of questions based on Crook’s condensation of Bloom’s taxonomy that assessed their cognition of the IVE with respect to knowledge, understanding and application, and higher mental processes. Participants also drew a sketch map of the IVE and the objects within it. The users’ sense of presence was measured using the Steed-Usoh-Slater Presence Questionnaire. The participants’ position and head orientation were automatically logged during their exposure to the virtual environment. These logs were later used to create visualizations of the paths taken. Path analysis, such as exploring the overlaid path visualizations and dwell data information, revealed further differences among the travel techniques. Our results suggest that, for applications where problem solving and evaluation of information is important or where opportunity to train is minimal, then having a large tracked space so that the participant can walk around the virtual environment provides benefits over common virtual travel techniques.


Experimental Conditions       

Testing Virtual Environment

Post Experiment Frame-by-frame visualization of a participant's path

Overall Path visualization of a participant's path



Link to Video of the Project presented at IEEE VR 2004: http://suntel01.uncc.edu/sbabu/webstuff/VRW.mp4

Video can be viewed using QuickTime (http://www.apple.com/quicktime/download/win.html)



Zanbaka, C., Lok, B., Babu, S., Xiao, D., Ulinski, A., and Hodges, L.F. (2004). Effects of travel technique on cognition in virtual environments. Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Virtual Reality (Chicago, ILL, March 27-31), pp. 149-156. [PDF]


Zanbaka, C., Lok, B., Babu, S., Ulinski, A., Hodges, L.F. (2005). Comparison of path visualizations and cognitive measures relative to travel technique in a virtual environment. IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 11. 6. pp. 694-705. [PDF]