Transfer of spatial knowledge from virtual to real environments


  • Peruch P
  • Belingard L
  • Thinus-Blanc C

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The transfer of spatial knowledge from virtual to real environments is one important issue in spatial cognition research. Up to now, studies in this domain have revealed that the properties of spatial representations are globally the same in virtual and real environments, and in most cases transfer of spatial information from one kind of environment to the other occurs. Although these results suggest that virtual environments contain much of the spatial information used in real environments, it seems difficult or even impossible to draw any clear conclusion about the spatial information which is transferred and about the conditions of transfer. Being able to quantitatively and/or qualitatively predict and observe such a transfer would broaden the possibilities of training and our knowledge of the cognitive processes involved in spatial behavior. In a first step, arguments in this sense are developed on the basis of a review of some recent studies concerned with the transfer of spatial knowledge between virtual and real environments. In a second step, empirical data are reported, that illustrate the interest and limits of such studies.

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