The Effect of Navigation Demand on Decision Making in a Dynamic, Sport-Inspired Virtual Environment

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Jeromy M. Alt University of Cincinnati

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Adam W. Kiefer University of North Carolina

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Ryan MacPherson University of North Carolina

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Tehran J. Davis University of Cincinnati

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Paula L. Silva University of Cincinnati

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Athletes commonly make decisions about the passability of closing gaps when navigating sport environments. This study examined whether increased temporal pressure to arrive at a desired location modifies these decisions. Thirty participants navigated toward a waypoint in a virtual, sport-inspired environment. To do so, they had to decide whether they could pass through closing gaps of virtual humans (and take the shortest route) or steer around them (and take a longer route). The decision boundary of participants who were time pressured to arrive at a waypoint was biased toward end gaps of smaller sizes and was less reliably defined, resulting in a higher number of collisions. Effects of temporal pressure were minimized with experience in the experimental task. Results indicate that temporal pressure affects perceptual–motor processes supporting information pickup and shapes the information–action coupling that drives compliance with navigation demands. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.

Alt, Davis, and Silva are with the Dept. of Psychology, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH, USA. Kiefer and MacPherson are with the Dept. of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Alt (jeromy.alt@uc.edu) is corresponding author.
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