Jan Wiener, Ramona Grzeschik and Chris Hilton represented the Ageing & Dementia Research Centre (ADRC) at the 40th European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP) 27–31 August 2017 in Berlin and the 20th Conference of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP) 3-6 September 2017 in Potsdam.
The ECVP is an annual meeting that brings together researchers from Psychology, Neurosciences, Optics, Computational Sciences and more. Besides vision, other modalities are represented as well as their interaction (multisensory perception). The conference of the ESCoP is being held once every two years. The society’s mission is “the furtherance of scientific enquiry within the field of Cognitive Psychology and related subjects, particularly with respect to collaboration and exchange of information between researchers in different European countries”.
Ramona represented the ADRC at both conferences with her ESRC-funded project on Dementia-friendly environments. In particular, she presented a poster with the latest results of her wayfinding experiment where she investigated the route learning abilities and eye movements of young and old participants.
At the ESCoP conference, Jan gave a talk on “What can eye-tracking tell us about the cognitive mechanisms underlying successful navigation?” where he introduced a couple of experiments that investigated eye movements during route and place learning in Virtual Environments.
Chris presented his results at the ESCoP as well. His poster titled “An exploration into the effects of ageing on general control of attention during route learning in a complex environment.” escribed his experiment using a natural looking virtual environment called “Virtual Tübingen”. He investigated attentional engagement during a route learning task in young and old participants.
As part of GreenSky Thinking Week, PhD student Mary O’Malley was invited to talk as part of the ARCC “Sensing the place – experiences & wayfinding in a changing climate event, held by BuroHappold in London on 27th April 2016. Mary presented a short talk, about the different navigation representations we make when learning new environments and discussed how these are affected by ageing and Alzheimer’s disease. She then went on to talk about her PhD research which looks at creating environments that support successful orientation The event was mainly made of architects and urban designers which resulted in great discussions on how psychological theory can apply to practice!
Report by Mary O’Malley
New ESRC-funded project in Psychology and BUDI
This week saw the start of a two year ESRC-funded project entitled “Dementia Friendly Architecture: Reducing Spatial Disorientation in Dementia Care Homes”. The project, which has been awarded to Dr Jan Wiener (Psychology/BUDI), aims to develop design guidelines for dementia-friendly architecture that minimise spatial disorientation, one of the earliest signs of dementia.
Post-Doctoral researcher Dr Ramona Grzeschik, who started on the first of December, and Chris Hilton (PhD student) will test how different aspects of build environments affect orientation and navigation abilities in people with dementia. In order to do so, they will use cutting-edge virtual environments and eye-tracking technology (https://microsites.bournemouth.ac.uk/wayfinding/) which allows for systematic manipulations of environmental properties.
This international multidisciplinary project brings together researchers from cognitive psychology, dementia research and architecture. It is a collaboration between Bournemouth University’s Wayfinding Lab, BUDI (Bournemouth University Dementia Institute), Northumbria University (Prof Ruth Dalton, Co-I), UWS (Prof Anthea Innes, Co-I) and the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases (Prof Wolbers, Prof Nestor, both project-partners).
Successful spatial navigating is one of the most fundamental behavioural problems and requires complex cognitive operations. To navigate in both familiar and unfamiliar environments, we need to monitor various internal and external cues, build, access, and update mental representations of space, plan and execute movements. In the Wayfinding & Spatial Cognition Lab we conduct research into the psychological processes underlying navigation and wayfinding behaviour addressing both fundamental and applied research questions. We make use of a variety of methods including behavioural navigation experiments, virtual reality techniques, static and mobile eye-tracking and cognitive modelling.
Click on image to see a short video of our virtual reality setup that we now combined with a head mounted (mobile) eye-tracker. This allows us to study visual attention across a large field of view while participants solve navigation tasks in highly controlled virtual environments that are build to exactly match the experimental demands.
The “Wayfinding & Spatial Cognition Lab” is currently involved in a number of fundamental and applied research projects:-
- We just received funding from “Army of Angels” and the BU Foundation to start an exciting new project investigating the relationship between PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and navigation.
Dr. Jan Wiener in the Psychology Research Centre leads the “Wayfinding and Spatial Cognition” lab. For more information about our projects, the team, and our publications, please visit our lab page at www.spatial-cognition.org. You can also follow us on Twitter.
We are always eager to discuss new project ideas and collaborations, so please get in contact by dropping me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org