The effect of sound environment on spatial knowledge acquisition in a virtual outpatient polyclinic

Date
2021-12-28
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Source Title
Applied Ergonomics
Print ISSN
0003-6870
Electronic ISSN
1872-9126
Publisher
Elsevier
Volume
100
Issue
Pages
1 - 15
Language
English
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Abstract

This study examines the impact of the sound environment on spatial knowledge acquisition in a virtual outpa- tient polyclinic. Outpatient polyclinics have a salient role in determining early outpatient treatments of COVID- 19 to prevent hospitalization or death and reduce the burden on hospitals. However, they have not been widely investigated in the literature. The studies on spatial knowledge have identified environmental elements mainly related to vision with no focus on sound. Currently, there is limited research on the effect of sound environment on spatial knowledge acquisition in virtual outpatient polyclinics. In this study, a virtual simulated outpatient polyclinic has been created with varying levels of visual and audio cues. Eighty participants were assigned to one of the four groups: a control (no visual signage), a visual (visual signage), an only audio (no landmarks and no visual signage), and an audio-visual group. The virtual environment was presented as a video walkthrough with passive exploration to test spatial knowledge acquisition with tasks based on the landmark-route-survey model. The results showed that a combination of visual signage and sound environment resulted in higher spatial knowledge acquisition. No significant difference was found between the performance of the visual group and the control group that shows that signage alone cannot aid spatial knowledge in virtual outpatient polyclinics. Data from the only audio group suggests that landmarks associated with sound can compensate for the lack of visual landmarks that may help design a wayfinding system for users with visual disabilities.

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