Assessing Similarities and Differences between Males and Females in Visual Behaviors in Spatial Orientation Tasks

Abstract: Spatial orientation is an important task in human wayfinding. Existing research indicates sex‐related similarities and differences in performance and strategies when executing spatial orientation behaviors, but few studies have investigated the similarities and differences in visual behaviors between males and females. To address this research gap, we explored visual behavior similarities and differences between males and females using an eye‐tracking method. We recruited 40 participants to perform spatial orientation tasks in a desktop environment and recorded their eye‐tracking data during these tasks. The results indicate that there are no significant differences between sexes in efficiency and accuracy of spatial orientation. In terms of visual behaviors, we found that males fixated significantly longer than females on roads. Males and females had similar fixation counts in building, signpost, map, and other objects. Males and females performed similarly in fixation duration for all five classes. Moreover, fixation duration was well fitted to an exponential function for both males and females. The base of the exponential function fitted by males’ fixation duration was significantly lower than that of females, and the coefficient difference of exponential function was not found. Females were more effective in switching from maps to signposts, but differences of switches from map to other classes were not found. The newfound similarities and differences between males and females in visual behavior may aid in the design of better human centered outdoor navigation applications.

To cite this paper:

Dong, W.; Zhan, Z.; Liao, H.; Meng, L.; Liu, J. Assessing Similarities and Differences between Males and Females in Visual Behaviors in Spatial Orientation Tasks. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 20209, 115.

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