Effects of Field Dependence-Independence and Frame of Reference on Navigation Performance Using Multi-dimensional Electronic Maps

Hongting Li, Yiqi Zhang, Changxu Wu, Dan Mei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


Most prior studies regarding navigational efficiency of electronic maps mainly investigated map characteristics such as the frame of references of maps (track-up maps vs. north-up maps) and the map dimensionality (2D maps vs. 3D maps). However, relatively little research has been found regarding how user characteristics, especially a user's cognitive style, affect the effectiveness of navigational displays. The present study examined how individuals' field dependence-independence, as an essential dimension of cognitive styles, affects user performance in orienting and navigating tasks with 2D and 3D electronic maps. The results suggested field-independent individuals had higher mental rotation ability than field-dependent individuals. The results also indicated significant interactions between field dependence-independence and frame of reference on both orienting and navigating tasks. Field-independent (FI) individuals responded more quickly and with higher accuracy compared to field-dependent (FD) individuals when using north-up maps, but no such differences was revealed when track-up maps were used. This implication could be further utilized to improve user-centered designs of navigation displays by considering individual differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-299
Number of pages11
JournalPersonality and Individual Differences
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)

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