Working memory in wayfinding - A dual task experiment in a virtual city

Tobias Meilinger, Markus Knauff, Heinrich Bulthoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

89 Citations (Scopus)


This study examines the working memory systems involved in human wayfinding. In the learning phase, 24 participants learned two routes in a novel photorealistic virtual environment displayed on a 220° screen while they were disrupted by a visual, a spatial, a verbal, or-in a control group-no secondary task. In the following wayfinding phase, the participants had to find and to "virtually walk" the two routes again. During this wayfinding phase, a number of dependent measures were recorded. This research shows that encoding wayfinding knowledge interfered with the verbal and with the spatial secondary task. These interferences were even stronger than the interference of wayfinding knowledge with the visual secondary task. These findings are consistent with a dual-coding approach of wayfinding knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)755-770
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Jun 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Dual coding
  • Dual task
  • Grounding
  • Spatial task
  • Verbal task
  • Virtual reality
  • Visual task
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Linguistics and Language

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