The contribution of field independence in virtual spatial updating

Raffaella Nori, Maddalena Boccia, Massimiliano Palmiero, Laura Piccardi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Field independence (FI) is the extent to which a person perceives part of a field as discrete from the surrounding field rather than embedded in the field. Several studies proposed that it represents a cognitive style that is a relatively stable individuals’ predisposition towards information processing. This study investigated the effects of Field Independence/Field Dependence (FI/FD) cognitive style on topographic memory in a virtual environment. Seventy-nine college students completed the Embedded Figure Test as a measure of FI/FD cognitive style and learned two paths in the VR-Walking Corsi Test apparatus. After the learning phase, participants had to reproduce the paths from a familiar perspective or unfamiliar perspectives. Data showed that FI cognitive style predicted the ability to reproduce a path from unfamiliar perspectives, suggesting a different impact of the angle degree. Results are discussed considering the facilitation of body axes references and the increasing difficulty due to maintaining online perspectives with higher angle degrees that increase the visuo-spatial working memory cognitive load. These results support the idea that FI predicts human navigation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Psychology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • Cognitive style
  • Field independence
  • Human navigation
  • Perspective-taking
  • Virtual reality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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