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01-08-2016 | Original Article | Uitgave 5/2017

Psychological Research 5/2017

Route planning with transportation network maps: an eye-tracking study

Psychological Research > Uitgave 5/2017
Elise Grison, Valérie Gyselinck, Jean-Marie Burkhardt, Jan Malte Wiener


Planning routes using transportation network maps is a common task that has received little attention in the literature. Here, we present a novel eye-tracking paradigm to investigate psychological processes and mechanisms involved in such a route planning. In the experiment, participants were first presented with an origin and destination pair before we presented them with fictitious public transportation maps. Their task was to find the connecting route that required the minimum number of transfers. Based on participants’ gaze behaviour, each trial was split into two phases: (1) the search for origin and destination phase, i.e., the initial phase of the trial until participants gazed at both origin and destination at least once and (2) the route planning and selection phase. Comparisons of other eye-tracking measures between these phases and the time to complete them, which depended on the complexity of the planning task, suggest that these two phases are indeed distinct and supported by different cognitive processes. For example, participants spent more time attending the centre of the map during the initial search phase, before directing their attention to connecting stations, where transitions between lines were possible. Our results provide novel insights into the psychological processes involved in route planning from maps. The findings are discussed in relation to the current theories of route planning.

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