Wayfinding and Gaze Behaviour

What can gaze behaviour can tell us about wayfinding and spatial information processing?

“Where do we look when solving spatial problem, when recognizing places, or when navigating through familiar or novel environments?”

“What does gaze behaviour reveal about the perception and processing of spatial information when solving different navigation tasks?”

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In a non-spatial context, gaze behaviour has already been shown to be influenced by the task at hand (e.g. judging the ages of people in a drawing vs. estimating their material circumstances), not just by the intrinsic salience of objects. Moreover, in everyday activities, different tasks have characteristic but flexible patterns of eye-movements that are similar between participants. Finally, gaze behaviour has been demonstrated to both reflect and influence decisions in an  choice paradigms. There has, however, been very little, if any, work investigating gaze behaviour in the context of wayfinding research. Thus, the goal of this project is the development of a basic understanding of:

  1. How gaze behaviour relates to spatial movement decision making and to visuo-spatial properties of the choice alternatives, and
  2. How different navigation task influences gaze behaviour during wayfinding.


In our research we use static eye-trackers (EyeLink 1000) as well as a head-mounted ambulatory eye-tracker (Dikablis wireless). We record gaze behaviour in freely moving participants and combine virtual environments and eye-tracking technology (for more information about our eye-tracking facilities, please visit the Bournemouth University Eye-tracking Laboratory webpage).


Olivier de Condappa and Wiener, J., 2014. Human place and response learning: navigation strategy selection, pupil size and gaze behavior. Psychological Research (in press)

Wiener, J.M., Hölscher, C., Büchner, S. & Konieczny, L. (2012) Gaze Behaviour during space perception and spatial decision making. Psychological Research, 76, 713-729

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