Assessing the effectiveness of older adults’ spatial descriptions in a fetch task


The current paper examines spatial descriptions provided by older adults in the context of a fetch task in a virtual house environment that mimics an eldercare setting. Sixty-four older adults provided directions for how to find a target or where to find a target to a robot or human (named Brian) avatar. There were systematic differences in the form and structure of the descriptions based on the communicative task. Specifically, how descriptions were longer, contained more detail, and were dynamically structured as compared to where descriptions. However, where descriptions were found to be more effective in conveying the target location, as assessed with a subsequent target selection task. Implications for the development of robot algorithms for the comprehension of naturalistic spatial language across these two communicative tasks are discussed.

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