Let’s Go for a Run: Planning Routes to Remember


Research shows that people handle the complexity of environments by cognitively simplifying them using spatial schemas and heuristics. Such simplification strategies can be seen in route planning situations, such as the Travelling Salesperson Problem (TSP) and tour planning. The present study extends this work by examining a situation where memory demands must be considered during route planning -- planning a running route through an unfamiliar area. Results of routes planned on maps in grid-like and non-grid-like environments suggest that the planned routes reflect aspects of cognitive simplification to meet memory demands. This was evident in both global and local features of the routes. Globally, route trajectories tended towards simple shapes in accord with the affordances of the environment. Locally, changes of direction were preferably chosen at landmarks. More demanding (non-grid) environments led to an increase in simplification strategy use, such as relying on major roads, and avoiding complex decision points.

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