Research in the Navigation Laboratory focuses on how we perceive, remember, and navigate through the environment. These abilities are central to everyday navigation tasks such as driving home from work, exploring a new neighborhood, or finding an unfamiliar building on campus. Occasionally we use maps or GPS devices to perform these tasks, and other times we rely on our spatial memories (or "mental maps").
Many of the experiments conducted in our lab use immersive virtual reality, which provides a high level of control over environmental properties that are often difficult to manipulate in the real world, like the shape of the room, the presence of landmarks, and other visual cues known to influence spatial cognition. Using virtual reality also highlights some of the deficiencies of modern virtual reality systems, such as poor distance perception. Our lab conducts both basic and applied research on human spatial cognition. We seek to better understand basic spatial cognitive processes, and to apply that understanding to improve usability of technologies such as virtual reality.
The Navigation Lab is located in the Department of Psychology and is affiliated with the Human-Computer Interaction Program. If you are interested in getting involved in the Navigation Lab as an undergraduate student, graduate student, or postdoc, please contact the lab director Dr. Jonathan Kelly. Please use the links to the left to learn more about what we do and who we are.
Fall 2015 update: Dr. Kelly is accepting applications for a new Ph.D. student in psychology and/or human computer interaction.