Human performance and navigation activity in virtual environments can be measured and assessed with the aim to draw specific conclusions about human cognition. This paper presents an original virtual geographic environment (VGE) designed and used for this purpose. The presented research is rooted in an interdisciplinary approach combining knowledge and principles from the fields of psychology, cartography, and information technologies. The VGE was embedded with user logging functionality to provide a basis from which conclusions about human cognitive processes in a VGE could be drawn. The scope of this solution is introduced, described, and discussed under a behavioral measurement framework. An exploratory research design was adopted to demonstrate the environment’s utility in proof-of-concept user testing. Twenty participants were observed in interactive, semi-interactive and non-interactive tasks, their performance and individual differences were analyzed. The behavioral measurements were supplemented by Object-Spatial Imagery and a Verbal Questionnaire to determine the participants’ cognitive styles. In this sample, significant differences in exploration strategies between men and women were detected. Differences between experienced and non-experienced users were also found in their ability to identify spatial relations in virtual scenes. Finally, areas for future research areas and development were pinpointed.
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