Individual differences in spatial navigation: The influence of cognitive styles

David J.M. Kraemer, Victor R. Schinazi, Philip B. Cawkwell, Russell A. Epstein, Sharon L. Thompson-Schill

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractResearch


Navigation in large-scale environments relies on the ability to integrate multiple sources of information. Individuals differ not only in overall navigation ability, but also in strategies they use to accomplish the task—that is, on which sources of information they rely. One reliable, and potentially relevant, difference between individuals is their self-reported preferences
for attending to visual and verbal sources of information. These separable preferences, known as visual and verbal cognitive styles, correlate with reasoning and memory in visual and verbal domains, respectively. Here, using novel large-scale virtual environments, we demonstrate that visual and verbal cognitive styles are differentially predictive of performance on navigation tasks. Specifically, higher ratings on the visual dimension
predicted better performance on both landmark judgments (old/new) and judgments of relative direction (JRDs). Higher ratings on the verbal dimension, however, predicted performance for landmark judgments but not JRDs. Together, these results suggest that cognitive styles correspond to differences in how individuals represent spatial knowledge.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event51st Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society - St. Luis, United States
Duration: 18 Nov 201021 Nov 2010
Conference number: 51st


Conference51st Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySt. Luis
Internet address


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