Allocentric and egocentric navigational strategies are adopted at comparable rates in a virtual MWM: an eye-tracking study.




Yim, Megan

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Considerable research has examined strategies involved in spatial navigation, and what factors determine which strategy an individual will use. The little research that has examined strategy adoption has produced conflicting results. The present study investigated the relative rate of adoption of allocentric and egocentric strategies in an environment that allowed individuals to adopt one or the other, or switch between them. Results indicated that by the end of testing nearly all participants had adopted one strategy or the other. Also, more participants were using an allocentric strategy than an egocentric strategy. However, strategy selection was not related to gender, or the relative efficiency of the two strategies. Analysis of gaze position at the start of trials showed that those who adopted an allocentric strategy tended to focus their attention on the distal (landscape) features of the environment whereas those who adopted an egocentric strategy tended to focus their attention on the proximal object features. However, vertical gaze position could not be used to reveal the rate of adoption of an egocentric strategy, because this did not vary over trials. Analysis of gaze position using “regions of interest” overcame this problem and showed that both strategies are adopted at a similar rate early in trials. Comparison of strategy by gaze position and strategy by navigation probe indicated that these two metrics were measuring two different stages of navigation. Finally, analysis of the navigational efficiency of different strategies indicated that the best navigators were those who used both strategies. These findings indicate allocentric and egocentric strategies are adopted at a similar rate and that within the space of a few seconds, individuals may use different strategies for orientation and navigation.



Spatial navigation, eye tracking, allocentric, egocentric, strategy use, strategy adoption, orientation strategy, navigational strategy, gaze position