We examined how culture and recipient perspective affect direction giving during wayfinding. Participants from the United States and the Netherlands provided directions from starting locations to destinations for fictional recipients driving through a town (route perspective) or looking at a map of the town (survey perspective). US participants provided street names more frequently than did Dutch participants, whereas Dutch participants provided landmarks more frequently than did US participants. Moreover, US participants provided more cardinal descriptors when addressing listeners adopting a survey perspective relative to a route perspective but more landmarks and left-right descriptors when addressing listeners adopting a route perspective relative to a survey perspective. Participants from the Netherlands evinced a similar pattern with the important distinction that they mostly ignored cardinal terms, unless explicitly primed to do so and in a survey condition. In addition, this very low usage of cardinal terms seemed to be replaced by using more landmark descriptions. This study revealed remarkable flexibility in people's spatial descriptions but also stressed major differences in the use of spatial terms between US and Dutch participants.
|Journal||Journal of environmental psychology|
|Publication status||Published - 7 Jun 2012|