Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Committee Chair/Advisor

Gugerty, Dr. Lee


Recent research has helped confirm that landmarks are used as strong navigational signals and assist with way-finding strategies. Current in-vehicle information systems however, use little information in the way of landmarks, and instead rely heavily on distance information in order to direct drivers to their destination. It has been suggested that our spatial knowledge of an environment rarely uses distance information accurately. Although, recent research has shown that landmarks are helpful, a deeper understanding of what specific types of landmarks help with navigation is lacking in the literature. The current study attempts to fill in this gap in the literature and investigate in what sort of context - as previews of upcoming turns or identifiers of imminent turns - landmarks can be used. In the study, information about identification landmarks, preview landmarks, or distance to the next turn was presented in an in-vehicle information systems, and the effects on navigation performance, attention to the driving environment, and vehicle control were measured. It was hypothesized that both landmark conditions would lead to better navigation performance (e.g. fewer incorrect turns and near navigational errors), better attention to the driving environment (e.g. fewer driving errors and better performance on a recognition memory test) and lower variations in speed and steering wheel control, than when distance information is used on an IVIS to guide drivers. Results showed that both types of landmark information led to fewer incorrect turns than with distance information. Participants using distance information made many incorrect turns in the first segment of the route, which suggests a learning effect with this type of information, because the other two conditions did not experience such results. Landmarks did not lead to fewer near navigational errors (incorrect signaling) or driving errors. Participants in the landmark conditions did not perform better than those using distance information on the recognition memory test. Variations in speed and steering wheel control were similar in all conditions.

Included in

Psychology Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.