Time will not help unskilled observers to understand a cluttered spatial scene

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When searching for people in collapsed buildings, Urban Search and Rescue workers need to comprehend a complex cluttered scene observed through an endoscope under time pressure. This paper addresses the effects of time pressure and spatial ability on the comprehension of a flm showing a mock-up collapsed room that was explored using endoscope-like technology. Participants' task was to find the objects that were hidden in the rubble, describe where they had found them, and draw the scene. Analysis focused on coherence and spatial specificity. Results indicate that spatial skills were most decisive for understanding and conceptually integrating the scene. Time pressure only affected the amount of objects found, not the degree of conceptual integration as re ected in the descriptions.


  • Memory, Representation, Spatial Language, Structure, Visual Perception
Original languageEnglish
JournalSpatial Cognition and Computation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2016
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