Alternative Embodied Cognitions at Play Evaluation of Audio-Based Navigation in Virtual Settings Via Interactive Sounds

Enrico Gandolfi, Robert Clements


The current study addresses the concept of mediated embodied cognition (EC) by focusing on audio inputs/outputs rather than sight and visual cues. N=10 subjects were involved with the navigation of five virtual mazes with different design and sensorial affordances. A virtual audiocane was developed (within a middleware - NEED - aimed to improve learning environments’ accessibility) for supporting spatial exploration and scanning. Data collected span spatial thinking, previous knowledge of digital settings, completion time, ability to visualize virtual spaces, and usability and perception of the different design/sensorial situations provided. Results points to effective design choices and factors to consider when staging mediate EC instances. With these findings, the article addresses three current gaps in EC related literature: 1) lack of attention to special needs and diverse embodiments, 2) insufficient focus on audio inputs/outputs as interactive affordances; and 3) poor efforts in evaluating design and assistive elements in EC integrations.


audio-based interaction; embodied cognition; spatial thinking; virtual environments.

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