The role of emotional landmarks in navigation has been scarcely studied. Previous findings showed that valence and arousal of landmarks increase landmark’s salience and improve performance in navigational memory tasks. However, no study has directly explored the interplay between valence and arousal of emotionally laden landmarks in embodied and not-embodied navigational tasks. At the aim, 115 college students have been subdivided in five groups according to the landmarks they were exposed (High Positive Landmarks HPL; Low Positive Landmarks LPL; High Negative Landmarks HNL; Low Negative Landmarks LNL and Neutral Landmarks NeuL). In the embodied tasks participants were asked to learn a path in a first-person perspective and to recall it after five minutes, whereas in the not-embodied tasks participants were asked to track the learned path on a silent map and to recognize landmarks among distractors. Results highlighted firstly the key role of valence in the embodied task related to the immediate learning, but not to the delayed recall of the path, probably because of the short retention interval used. Secondly, results showed the importance of the interplay between valence and arousal in the non-embodied tasks, specifically, neutral and high negative emotional landmarks yielded the lowest performance probably because of the avoidance learning effect. Implications for future research directions are discussed.
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