Tlauka, M, Wilson, P N and Carter, P J (2010) Special recall of the first direction of travel: An examination of the first-perspective alignment effect. In: 37th Australasian Experimental Psychology Conference., 8 - 10 April 2010, Melbourne, Australia.

People often remember environments from the first perspective encountered or the first direction of travel.

This study examined the conditions responsible for this first-perspective alignment effect. University students explored the outside of a virtual building that was presented on a desk-top computer screen.

Participants‘ spatial memory of the simulated building was then tested employing a pointing task. The main variables of interest were participants‘ previous experience with the environment surrounding the virtual building and the delay between initial exploration and pointing task.

The first-perspective alignment
effect was found under two conditions: (1) when participants had no experience of the surroundings and were tested immediately following exploration, and (2) when participants had experience of the surrounding environment, but there was a delay between learning and testing.

The results are discussed in relation to current theories of spatial reference frames.