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Title: Using virtual reality to understand context-dependent spatial memory
Authors: Sam, Joyce Yan Ting
Keywords: Social sciences::Psychology
Issue Date: 2022
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Sam, J. Y. T. (2022). Using virtual reality to understand context-dependent spatial memory. Doctoral thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: It has been found that consistent physical contexts presented at encoding and retrieval facilitate recall of learnt information. Although much is known about the context-dependent phenomenon, the vast majority of past literature focused on memory for learnt word lists and there is sparse empirical work examining how a match in the encoding and retrieval environments influences spatial memory. To fill in this important research gap and contribute new understanding, the present thesis aims to examine context effects on spatial memory using real and virtual reinstatement across four studies. The experimental paradigm was identical throughout – participants first encoded target objects and then recalled relevant location information one day later. A pilot study compared object location memory across three different retrieval contexts: the original encoding environment, its virtual replica, and a distinct real-world environment. Using a different encoding task and test format at retrieval, Study 1 compared object location memory across the three conditions (original encoding environment, its virtual replica, and a distinct real-life environment), and demonstrated that context effects on spatial memory are more likely to occur when the encoding and/or retrieval environments are not suppressed. Study 2 examined if the degree of similarity between the learning and reinstated environment affects object location memory, and found weaker recall when the learning context is only partially reinstated. Study 3 investigated the effects of locomotion on context-dependent spatial recall. In comparison to an inability to locomote, being able to navigate the reinstated environment at test resulted in a better object location memory. Collectively, this set of studies illustrates that congruent environmental context at encoding and retrieval leads to enhanced spatial memory while documenting how different factors (i.e., similarity, locomotion) affect context-dependent spatial memory. Importantly, the studies suggest that virtual replications of real learning environments can produce spatial memory as accurate as those retrieved in the original encoding environment, thus underscoring the potential of VR usage in real-world memory applications such as crime scene reinstatements and eyewitness memory.
DOI: 10.32657/10356/157785
Schools: School of Social Sciences 
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:SSS Theses

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