University of Oulu

Kostakos, P., Alavesa, P., Korkiakoski, M., Marques, M. M., Lobo, V., & Duarte, F. (2021). Wired to Exit: Exploring the Effects of Wayfinding Affordances in Underground Facilities Using Virtual Reality. Simulation & Gaming, 52(2), 107–131.

Wired to exit : exploring the effects of wayfinding affordances in underground facilities using virtual reality

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Author: Kostakos, Panos1; Alavesa, Paula1; Korkiakoski, Mikko1;
Organizations: 1Univeristy of Oulu, Finland
2CINAV-Portuguese Navy Research Center, Portugal
3Optimal Defence, Portugal
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.4 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2021
Publish Date: 2022-02-14


Background: Wayfinding has been adopted in several intense evacuation and navigation simulations; however, the use of biometric measurements for characterizing physiological outcomes has been somewhat overlooked and applied only under limited laboratory conditions.

Methods: Twenty-four participants took part in a virtual reality (VR) experiment using a wayfinding installation with the Oculus Rift S head-mounted display (HMD). They were immersed in a simulation of a burning underground parking lot and tasked to navigate to the exit. The purpose of this research was to investigate the high-level effect of wayfinding assistive lights on behavioral, physiological, and psychological outcomes. Participants were split into two groups: the control group was exposed to a scene without assistive lights, and the experimental group was exposed to the same scene with assistive lights.

Results: Results indicate there was no statistically significant difference between the groups in traveled distance, pauses, turns, or game completion time. Curiously, differences between the two groups in heart rate (HR) outcomes were found to be statistically significant, with subjects in the control group displaying an increasing HR trend during simulation.

Conclusions: This finding, in accordance with previous studies that have shown the efficacy of landmarks and wayfinding affordances in reducing cognitive demands, suggests that assistive lights might contribute to improved brain wiring connectivity during the game. We discuss these findings in the context of a rich wayfinding affordances literature.

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Series: Simulation & gaming
ISSN: 1046-8781
ISSN-E: 1552-826X
ISSN-L: 1046-8781
Volume: 52
Issue: 2
Pages: 107 - 131
DOI: 10.1177/1046878120944567
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 113 Computer and information sciences
Funding: The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: Partly funded by European Commission grant PRINCE (grant 815362) and by Academy of Finland 6Genesis Flagship (grant 318927).
Academy of Finland Grant Number: 318927
Detailed Information: 318927 (Academy of Finland Funding decision)
Copyright information: © 2020 Sage Publications.