The influence of perceptual and structural salience


Spatial cognition research has recently made much progress in understanding the cognitive representations and processes underlying human wayfinding. Many theoretical assumptions about the concept of landmark salience have been established. In this context it is important to define perceptual (or visual) and structural landmark salience. Structural salience is defined as the position of a landmark at an intersection. Perceptual salience is defined as the visual characteristic of a landmark. It must “stand out” from its surrounding to be perceptually salient. We investigated the influence of perceptual salience and the combination of perceptual and structural salience in landmark selection. We show for a spatial arrangement of four objects that the different object is preferred almost always. If the same spatial arrangement is interpreted as an intersection with a directional information, the participants’ preference is influenced by structural as well as perceptual salience. Findings are discussed within the context of landmark salience.

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