Task Characteristics and Individual Differences in Judgments of Relative Direction

AbstractJudgments of relative direction (JRD) have been frequently used to understand people’s mental representation of outdoor and indoor spaces. In JRD experiments, experimenters need to identify a signal within the trial-by-trial and participant-by-participant variability. However, it is not well understood how characteristics of the task and differences between individuals contributes to performance variability. In this paper, I investigated task characteristics (i.e., reference frames used in instructions, orienting and target headings, and distances between headings) and individual differences (i.e., gender, sense-of-direction, familiarity, and strategy use) to provide insights into the factors that influence JRD accuracy and variability. Using the findings of this study, I make recommendations for best-practices in JRD methods and analyses.

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