AI Seminar

Using Virtual Reality to Investigate Comparative Spatial Cognitive Abilities of Chimpanzees and Humans

Francine DolinsAssistant Professor of PsychologyUniversity of Michigan, Dearborn

Chimpanzees, children, and adults were tested using virtual reality (VR) software, which presented varying degrees of spatial complexity in virtual 3D environments. The VR environments were either geometrically-based or more naturalistic. Complexity differed according to the size and division of space (barriers, alleyways and 3D objects), and by number, location, and type of landmark. The navigator’s objective was to localize the goal; no time limit was set. Comparative behavioral responses were measured by optimal path and time to localize the goal in both species and all age groups in order to determine differences in landmark use and spatial cognitive abilities. Results will be discussed with regard to species differences in spatial cognitive abilities in ecological and developmental contexts.

Collaborators on the study:

Charles Menzel, Ph.D.
The Language Research Center
Georgia State University
Decatur, GA
Alan Cowey, Ph.D.

Department of Experimental Psychology
Oxford University
Oxford, UK

Steve Pettifer, Ph.D.
Department of Computer Science
University of Manchester
Manchester, UK

Christopher Klimowicz
Department of Behavioral Sciences
University of Michigan-Dearborn

Betty Chan, John Kelley & Sarah Hunsberger
The Language Research Center
Georgia State University
Decatur, GA

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