Review: Physically large displays improve performance on spatial tasks

Egon van den Broek

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article reviewAcademic


    With the rise of large screens, projectors, and virtual reality environments, the interest in the effects of using large displays has increased. Tan, Gergle, Scupelli, and Pausch present four experiments that examine the effects of large displays on users. The distinction between the exocentric and egocentric strategies of users in their engagement with the environment on the display is noted. However, the results of the first experiment lack explanatory power. For the first two experiments, a broad range of tests is used to determine user preferences, including the Guilford-Zimmerman test, the card and cube test of the Educational Testing Service (ETS) Kit of factor-referenced cognitive tests [1], and the Shepard-Metzler test [2]. In the third experiment, a significant effect for display size is found: users moved shorter distances to find the targets. The fourth experiment, in a more ecologically valid (gaming) environment, confirmed the results of the third experiment. Moreover, an interaction effect (display size * difficulty of task) was found. Hence, the more complex a task becomes, the more helpful a large display becomes. The authors confirm previous research by stating that large displays improve spatial tasks. However, their goal of unraveling some of the underlying cognitive aspects of users is not satisfied. This is probably due to the interference of a range of uncontrolled factors, as well as the continuous interaction of a range of cognitive processes. Therefore, in parallel to applied research, fundamental research on human cognition is still very important for better understanding user behavior.
    Original languageUndefined
    Pages (from-to)CR133228
    Number of pages1
    JournalACM Computing Reviews
    Publication statusPublished - 24 Aug 2006


    • HMI-HF: Human Factors
    • HMI-VRG: Virtual Reality and Graphics
    • EWI-20860
    • egocentric strategies
    • Virtual Reality
    • Experiments
    • Displays
    • Review
    • exocentric strategies

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