ECVP 2002 Abstract

Cite as:
Readinger W O, 2002, "Functional isovists as descriptors of spatial perception" Perception 31 ECVP Abstract Supplement

Functional isovists as descriptors of spatial perception

W O Readinger

Gibson's theory of ecological perception has received considerable empirical and theoretical attention within psychology. Over the past 35 years, however, architects and space analysts have developed a quantitative theory of space representation which is similar to Gibson's notions of perception. Specifically, it is argued that first-person representations of visual space and the use of transitions between vistas can accurately portray some aspects of the way humans think about space. With this in mind, two experiments were carried out. Participants were primed with a brief view of a partially occluded scene. They were then presented with a 300 ms view of several objects, the spatial locations of which they were asked to reproduce. Perceptions of object location were significantly more accurate in cases when the second scene was viewed from a position within the field-of-view of the priming scene, compared to control scenes from different points-of-view. In a second experiment, participants were asked to generate distinct views of a novel space that would maximise the amount of spatial information conveyed. Consistently, views which featured many transitions were favoured above views which led to a depiction of the greatest total volume. The utility of this method for representing space is discussed.

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