Tracing a Route and Finding a Shortcut: The Working Memory, Motivational, and Personality Factors Involved

  • Pazzaglia F
  • Meneghetti C
  • Ronconi L
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Wayfinding (WF) is the ability to move around efficiently and find the way from a starting point to a destination. It is a component of spatial navigation, a coordinate and goal-directed movement of one's self through the environment. In the present study, the relationship between WF tasks (route tracing and shortcut finding) and individual factors were explored with the hypothesis that WF tasks would be predicted by different types of cognitive, affective, motivational variables, and personality factors. A group of 116 university students (88 F.) were conducted along a route in a virtual environment and then asked first to trace the same route again, and then to find a shortcut between the start and end points. Several instruments assessing visuospatial working memory, mental rotation ability, self-efficacy, spatial anxiety, positive attitude to exploring, and personality traits were administered. The results showed that a latent spatial ability factor (measured with the visuospatial working memory and mental rotations tests) - controlled for gender - predicted route-tracing performance, while self-report measures of anxiety, efficacy, and pleasure in exploring, and some personality traits were more likely to predict shortcut-finding performance. We concluded that both personality and cognitive abilities affect WF performance, but differently, depending on the requirements of the task.




Pazzaglia, F., Meneghetti, C., & Ronconi, L. (2018). Tracing a Route and Finding a Shortcut: The Working Memory, Motivational, and Personality Factors Involved. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 12.

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