The behavior of walking involves our action of seeing things. It is the intention of this research that the cognitive process of perceiving things along the path can affect the way we sense the length of the journey. The theory generally accepted in this line of thought is the ‘feature accumulation theory’. It assumes that if the journey includes many objects or memorable features, then our memory recalls that journey much farther than it really was. This study set up a real-life experiment by asking university students about their mental memory of the two different routes in the campus. One is a longer path that has not much to look at except trees and the other a shorter path yet with many buildings, sign boards and street furnitures. The subjects processed their mental image in the brain based on their experience. They showed a strong tendency that the path with more features were remembered longer while that with less features shorter. More interestingly, it was found that as their experience increases, they become more accurate about the exact length of the questioned paths. The result corroborates the theory that human perception of space is based on the topological understanding of surroundings rather than geometric understanding.
|Published - Aug 2014