Contact

Dr. Tobias Meilinger

Address: Spemannstr. 38
72076 Tübingen
Room number: 009.2
Phone: +49 7071 601 615
Fax: +49 7071 601 616
E-Mail: tobias.meilinger

 

Picture of Meilinger, Tobias, Dr.

Tobias Meilinger

Position: Project Leader  Unit: Bülthoff

I am interested in navigation through everyday environments: how to represent, combine and use experienced views, movement trajectories, maps, and descriptions. A second line of research examines relations between spatial and social cognition. My approach uses behavioural experiments in real and virtual environments supplemented by formal description methods of space, functional neuroimaging and cognitive modeling.

 

Stephan de la Rosa and I are leading the Social and Spatial Cognition Group

 

My main line of research is concerned with navigation through everyday environments: how to represent, combine and use experienced views, movement trajectories, maps, and descriptions. A second line of research examines relations between spatial and social cognition: how orientation and distance has spatial and social meaning and how interaction with others happens within space. My approach uses behavioural experiments in real and virtual environments supplemented by formal description methods of space, functional neuroimaging and cognitive modeling.

 


 


Learning and navigating complex environments

 

Navigating through buildings and cities is an under-reserched yet important everyday task. We found that knowledge acquired from navigation is represented in multiple, local reference frames corresponding, for example, to streets or corridors. This local information also incorporates local geometry as defined by walls. Contrary, (prior) map exposure yields a single, map-up oriented reference frame which is used for configurational or survey tasks within novel and highly familiar environments, but not for selecting routes. The underlying route knowledge focuses on turns which is enabled by a default strategy of walking straight. Route guidance providing unambiguous turning information will yield enhanced wayfinding performance.These findings will foster our understanding of human-environmental interaction and thus help finding ones goal.

 

Publications:

-Meilinger, T., * Frankenstein, J., * Simon, N., Bülthoff, H.H., & Bresciani, J.-P. (in press). Not all memories are the same: situational context influences spatial recall within ones city of residency. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. [*equal contributions]

- Meilinger, T.,  Frankenstein, J, Watanabe, K. , Bülthoff, H.H. & Hölscher, C. (in press). Reference frames in learning from maps and navigation. Psychological Research.

- Meilinger, T., Riecke, B.E., Bülthoff, H.H. (2014). Local and global reference frames for environmental spaces. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 67, 542-569.

- Meilinger, T., Frankenstein, J., Bülthoff, H.H. (2014). When in doubt follow your nose - a wayfinding strategy. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1-7.

- Meilinger, T., Frankenstein, J., Bülthoff, H.H. (2013). Learning to navigate: experience vs. maps. Cognition, 129, 24-30.

- Frankenstein, J., Mohler, B.J., Bülthoff, H.H. & Meilinger, T. (2012). Is the Map in Our Head Oriented North? Psychological Science, 23, 120-125.

- Meilinger, T., Franz, G., & Bülthoff, H. H. (2012). From Isovists via Mental Representations to Behaviour: First Steps Toward Closing the Causal Chain. Environment and Planning B, 39, 48-62.

- Basten, K. Meilinger, T., Mallot, H.A. (2012). Mental travel primes place orientation in spatial recall. In Spatial Cognition VIII, Eds. C. Stachniss, K. Schill, D.H. Uttal (Berlin: Springer), 378-385.

-  Hölscher, C., Büchner, S. J., Meilinger, T., & Strube, G. (2009). Adaptivity of wayfinding strategies in a multi-building ensemble - the effects of spatial structure, task requirements and metric information. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29, 208-219.

- Meilinger, T., Hölscher, C., Büchner, S. J., & Brösamle, M. (2006). How Much Information Do You Need? Schematic Maps in Wayfinding and Self Localisation. In Spatial Cognition V, Eds. T. Barkowsky et al. (Berlin: Springer), 381–400.

 

Cooperation partners:

C. Hölscher, T. Wolbers, J. Frankenstein, B.E. Riecke, B.J. Mohler, R. Conroy Dalton,H.A. Mallot, H.H. Bülthoff

 

Funding:

- DFG project “Where is my goal? The functional, computational and neural basis of human survey knowledge” (principal investigator: T. Meilinger)

- Max Planck Society

- EU project “Wayfinding”


 


Object orientation as a social stimulus

 

This project is concerned with interactions between spatial and social processing in object orientation. Observers perceive cones, cameras, and avatars (virtual humans) facing them as closer than when they are facing away. This orientation effect does not depend on objects being aversive or animate. Object orientation may thus work not only as a spatial cue, but also as a social cue.


Publications:

Takahashi, K.*, Meilinger, T.*, Watanabe, K., Bülthoff, H.H. (2013). Psychological influences on distance estimation in a virtual reality environment. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7, 1-7. [* equal contributions]

 

Cooperation partners:

K. Watanabe, K. Takahashi, H.H. Bülthoff

 

Funding:

- Japan Society for the Promotion of Science

- Feodor-Lynen Stipend from the Humboldt Foundation

 



Spatial integration

 

Rooms, buildings and cities cannot be grasped within one glance. In order to get their overall structure, one has to integrate multiple experiences which relate via movement trajectories or common landmarks. We showed that reference frames (i.e., coordinate systems) used for integration depend on the learning time, available movement trajectories, and the knowledge from where to use the information afterwards. Integration of city streets happens within an incremental process conducted from one current location. Consequently, integration processes differ between spatial scales.


Publications:

- O’Malley, M., Bülthoff, H.H., Meilinger, T. (2014). How to find a shortcut within a city? Mental walk vs. mental model. 56. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen.

- Meilinger, T.*, Berthoz, A. & Wiener, J.M.* (2011). The integration of spatial information across different perspectives. Memory & Cognition, 39, 1042-1054. [* equal contributions]

- Henson, A., Mallot, H.A., Bülthoff, H.H., Meilinger, T. (2011). When do we integrate spatial information acquired by walking through environmental spaces? 33rd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 2764-2769.

- Meilinger, T., Bülthoff, H.H. (2010). The Direction Bias and the Incremental Construction of Survey Knowledge. 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 2500-2505.

- Meilinger, T. & Watanabe, K. (submitted). Multiple strategies for spatial integration.

 

Cooperation partners:

K. WatanabeJ. Wiener, A. Berthoz, H.A. Mallot, H.H. Bülthoff

 

Funding:

- DFG project “Where is my goal? The functional, computational and neural basis of human survey knowledge” (principal investigator: T. Meilinger)

- Feodor-Lynen Stipend from the Humboldt Foundation

- Max Planck Society

- EU project “Wayfinding”



Verbal and non-verbal codes in spatial memory

 

In which format do humans represent their environment? Our results indicate that room locations and routes learned from navigation as well as from maps are not only encoded spatially, but also in a verbal code, e.g. as descriptions. The usefulness of verbal encoding for navigation seems to depend on already established long-term associations between corresponding verbal and spatial elements. Humans combine multiple representations formats.

 

Publications:

-  Meilinger, T. & Bülthoff, H.H. (2013). Verbal shadowing and visual interference in spatial memory. PLOS ONE, 8, 1-9.

- Meilinger, T., Knauff, M., & Bülthoff, H. H. (2008). Working memory in wayfinding - a dual task experiment in a virtual city. Cognitive Science, 32, 755-770.

- Meilinger, T. & Knauff, M. (2008). Ask for your way or use a map: A field experiment on spatial orientation and wayfinding in an urban environment. Journal of Spatial Science, 53, 13-23.

 

Cooperation partners:

H.A. Mallot, M. Knauff, G. Hardiess, H.H. Bülthoff

 

Funding:

- DFG project “Mapspace” (SFB/TR8 Spatial Cognition)

- EU project “Wayfinding”

- Max Planck Society

 

 


Theoretical foundations of spatial cognition

 


This research is concerned with conceptions of how space can be represented and processed theoretically and in the light of current empirical data. We argue that simple egocentric and allocentric conceptions are not sufficient to capture complex situations and suggest combining them into complex representations. I also proposed a theory for self-localisation, route- and survey navigation in environmental spaces.

 

Publications:

- Vosgerau, G. Knoll, A., Meilinger, T. & Vogeley, K. (2013). Representation. In A. Stephan & S. Walter (Eds.), Handbuch Kognitionswissenschaft (386-401). Stuttgart: Metzler.

- Hardiess, G., Meilinger, T., Mallot, H.A. (in press). Virtual Reality and Spatial Cognition. International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

- Meilinger, T. & Vosgerau, G. (2010)  Putting Egocentric and Allocentric into Perspective. In C. Hölscher, C., T. F. Shipley, M. Olivetti Belardinelli, J. A. Bateman, N. S. Newcombe (Eds.), Spatial Cognition VII, LNAI 6222 (pp. 207-211). Berlin: Springer.

- Meilinger, T. (2008). The network of reference frames theory: A synthesis of graphs and cognitive maps. In C. Freksa, N.S. Newcombe, P. Gärdenfors & S. Wölfl (Eds.), Spatial Cognition VI, LNAI 5248 (pp. 344-360). Berlin: Springer.

 

Cooperation partners:

G. Vosgerau, H.A. Mallot, G. Hardiess

 

Funding:

- Max Planck Society

- DFG project “Where is my goal? The functional, computational and neural basis of human survey knowledge” (principal investigator: T. Meilinger)

 



Self movement perception and representation of 3D space

 

Humans mainly  experience their environment from an upright body posture and locomote along the horizontal plane. This project examines whether vertical movements and locations are perceived and memorized in the same way as horizontal ones. Initial results suggest qualitative differnces between horizontal and vertical.

 

Publications

- Barnett-Cowan, M., Meilinger, T., Vidal, M., Teufel, H. & Bülthoff, H.H. (2012). MPI CyberMotion Simulator: Implementation of a novel motion simulator to investigate path integration in three dimensions. Journal of Visualized Experiments, 63, 1-6.

- Hölscher, C., Meilinger, T., Vrachliotis, G., Brösamle, M., & Knauff, M. (2006). Up the down staircase: next term Wayfinding strategies in multi-level buildings. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 26, 284–299.


Collaboration partners:

C. Hölscher, M. Barnett-Cowan, M. Vidal, Mintao Zhao, Martin Butz


Further research

Additional research interests encompass contributions of lateral field of view for reorientation (with K. Ehinger and R.Rosenholtz), spatial priming (with H.A. Mallot and J. Wiener) and new measurement tools for spatial ability (together with A. Postma and I. van der Ham). I am also cooperating with the project SpaceGuide at the University of Freiburg (principal investigators: C. Hölscher, G. Strube and W. Burgard) and the feelSpace project at the University of Osnabrück (principal investigator: P. König). In former projects at the University of Würzburg I examined the influence of passengers on accidental risk (together with M. Vollrath and H.-P. Krüger), the influence of roadside vegetation on traffic safety, and the usability of menu systems (together with I. Totzke and H.-P. Krüger).

 

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Books (1):

Meilinger T Person: Strategies of Orientation in Environmental Spaces, 260, Logos Verlag, Berlin, Germany, (2008). ISBN: 978-3-8325-1997-1

Articles (17):

Meilinger T Person, Frankenstein J Person, Simon N Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Bresciani J-P Person (June-2015) Not all memories are the same: Situational context influences spatial recall within one’s city of residency Psychonomic Bulletin & Review Epub ahead.
Meilinger T Person, Frankenstein J Person, Watanabe K , Bülthoff HH Person and Hölscher C (November-2014) Reference frames in learning from maps and navigation Psychological Research Epub ahead.
Meilinger T Person, Frankenstein J Person and Bülthoff HH Person (November-2014) When in doubt follow your nose: a wayfinding strategy Frontiers in Psychology 5(1363) 1-7.
Meilinger T Person, Riecke BE Person and Bülthoff HH Person (March-2014) Local and global reference frames for environmental spaces Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 67(3) 542-569.
pdf
Meilinger T Person, Frankenstein J Person and Bülthoff HH Person (October-2013) Learning to navigate: Experience versus maps Cognition 129(1) 24–30.
pdf
Meilinger T Person and Bülthoff HH Person (September-2013) Verbal Shadowing and Visual Interference in Spatial Memory PLoS ONE 8(9) 1-9.
pdf
Takahashi K , Meilinger T Person, Watanabe K and Bülthoff HH Person (August-2013) Psychological influences on distance estimation in a virtual reality environment Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 7(580) 1-7.
pdf
Barnett-Cowan M Person, Meilinger T Person, Vidal M Person, Teufel H Person and Bülthoff HH Person (May-2012) MPI CyberMotion Simulator: Implementation of a Novel Motion Simulator to Investigate Multisensory Path Integration in Three Dimensions Journal of Visualized Experiments 63(5) 1-6.
Frankenstein J Person, Mohler BJ Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Meilinger T Person (February-2012) Is the Map in Our Head Oriented North? Psychological Science 23(2) 120-125.
pdf
Meilinger T Person, Franz G Person and Bülthoff HH Person (January-2012) From Isovists via Mental Representations to Behaviour: First Steps Toward Closing the Causal Chain Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 39(1) 48-62.
pdf
Meilinger T Person, Wiener JM Person and Berthoz A (August-2011) The integration of spatial information across different viewpoints Memory & Cognition 39(6) 1042-1054.
pdf
van der Ham IJM , van Zandvoort MJE , Meilinger T Person, Bosch SE , Kant N and Postma A (July-2010) Spatial and temporal aspects of navigation in two neurological patients NeuroReport 21(10) 685-689.
Hölscher C , Büchner SJ , Meilinger T Person and Strube G (June-2009) Adaptivity of wayfinding strategies in a multi-building ensemble: The effects of spatial structure, task requirements, and metric information Journal of Environmental Psychology 29(2) 208-219.
Meilinger T Person and Knauff M Person (December-2008) Ask for Directions or Use a Map: a Field Experiment on Spatial Orientation and Wayfinding in an Urban Environment Journal of Spatial Science 53(2) 13-23.
pdf
Meilinger T Person, Knauff M Person and Bülthoff HH Person (June-2008) Working memory in wayfinding: a dual task experiment in a virtual city Cognitive Science 32(4) 755-770.
pdf
Hölscher C , Meilinger T Person, Vrachliotis G , Brösamle M and Knauff M Person (December-2006) Up the down staircase: next term Wayfinding strategies in multi-level buildings Journal of Environmental Psychology 26(4) 284-299.
Vollrath M , Meilinger T Person and Krüger H-P (September-2002) How the presence of passengers influences the risk of a collision with another vehicle Accident Analysis and Prevention 34(5) 649-654.

Conference papers (20):

Basten K Person, Meilinger T Person and Mallot HA Person (September-2012) Mental Travel Primes Place Orientation in Spatial Recall In: Spatial Cognition VIII, International Conference Spatial Cognition (SC 2012), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 378-385.
pdf
Henson A Person, Mallot HA Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Meilinger T Person (July-2011) When do we integrate spatial information acquired by walking through environmental spaces? In: Expanding the Space of Cognitive Science, 33rd Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2011), Curran, Red Hook, NY, USA, 2764-2769.
pdf
Meilinger T Person and Vosgerau G Person (August-2010) Putting Egocentric and Allocentric into Perspective In: Spatial Cognition VII, International Conference Spatial Cognition (SC 2010), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 207-221.
pdf
Meilinger T Person and Bülthoff HH Person (August-2010) The Direction Bias and the Incremental Construction of Survey Knowledge 32nd Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2010), Cognitive Science Society, Austin, TX, USA, 2500-2505.
pdf
Frankenstein J Person, Meilinger T Person, Mohler BJ Person and Bülthoff HH Person (August-2009) Spatial Memory for Highly Familiar Environments 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2009), Curran, Red Hook, NY, USA, 2650-2655.
pdf
Meilinger T Person (September-2008) The Network of Reference Frames Theory: A Synthesis of Graphs and Cognitive Maps In: Spatial Cognition VI: Learning, Reasoning, and Talking about Space, International Conference Spatial Cognition (SC 2008), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 344-360.
pdf
Bülthoff HH Person, Campos JL Person and Meilinger T Person (September-2008) Virtual Reality as a Valuable Research Tool for Investigating Different Aspects of Spatial Cognition In: Spatial Cognition VI: Learning, Reasoning, and Talking about Space, International Conference Spatial Cognition (SC 2008), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 1-3.
pdf
Wiener JM Person, Meilinger T Person and Berthoz A (July-2008) The Integration of Spatial Information across Different Perspectives 30th Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2008), Curran, Red Hook, NY, USA, 2031-2036.
pdf
Meilinger T Person, Hölscher C , Büchner SJ and Brösamle M (November-2007) How Much Information Do You Need?: Schematic Maps in Wayfinding and Self Localisation In: Spatial Cognition V: Reasoning, Action, Interaction, International Conference on Spatial Cognition (SC 2006), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 381-400.
pdf
Hölscher C , Büchner SJ , Meilinger T Person and Strube G (November-2007) Map Use and Wayfinding Strategies in a Multi-Building Ensemble In: Spatial Cognition V: Reasoning, Action, Interaction, International Conference on Spatial Cognition (SC 2006), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 365-380.
Meilinger T Person, Franz G Person and Bülthoff HH Person (September-2007) From Isovists via Mental Representations to Behaviour: First Steps Toward Closing the Causal Chain Space Syntax and Spatial Cognition Workshop (Spatial Cognition '06), Universität Bremen, Bremen, Germany, 65-80.
pdf
Meilinger T Person, Riecke BE Person and Bülthoff HH Person (August-2007) Orientation Specificity in Long-Term-Memory for Environmental Spaces 29th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2007), Curran, Red Hook, NY, USA, 479-484.
pdf
Hölscher C , Büchner SJ , Brösamle M , Meilinger T Person and Strube G (August-2007) Signs and Maps: Cognitive Economy in the Use of External Aids for Indoor Navigation 29th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2007), Curran, Red Hook, NY, USA, 377-382.
pdf
Meilinger T Person, Knauff M Person and Bülthoff HH Person (July-2006) Working memory in wayfinding: a dual task experiment in a virtual city 28th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2006), Curran, Red Hook, NY, USA, 585-590.
pdf
Totzke I , Meilinger T Person and Krüger H-P (September-2005) Adaptivität und Adaptierbarkeit von menügesteuerten Informationssystemen - Kein Ansatz zur Lösung des Problems der Erlernbarkeit?! In: Zustandserkennung und Systemgestaltung. 6. Berliner Werkstatt Mensch-Maschine-Systeme, Zustandserkennung und Systemgestaltung., VDI-Verlag, Düsseldorf, 35-40.
Meilinger T Person (July-2005) Wayfinding with Maps and Verbal Directions XXVII Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2005), Cognitive Science Society, 1473-1478.
pdf
Vrachliotis G , Hölscher C and Meilinger T Person (June-2005) Building analysis from a spatial cognition perspective 5th International Space Syntax Symposium, 1-8.
pdf
Hölscher C , Meilinger T Person, Vrachliotis G and Knauff M Person (June-2005) The Floor Strategy: Wayfinding Cognition in a Multi-Level Building 5th International Space Syntax Symposium, Techne Press, Delft, Netherlands, 823-824.
pdf
Hoelscher C , Meilinger T Person, Vrachliotis G , Broesamle M and Knauff M Person (February-2005) Finding the Way Inside: Linking Architectural Design Analysis and Cognitive Processes In: Spatial Cognition IV: Reasoning, Action, Interaction, International Conference Spatial Cognition (SC 2004), Springer, Berlin, Germany, 1-23.
Totzke I , Meilinger T Person and Krüger H-P (2003) Erlernbarkeit von Menüsystemen im Fahrzeug - mehr als "nur" eine Lernkurve Der Fahrer im 21. Jahrhundert, VDI-Berichte 1768 (S.171-195).

Contributions to books (2):

Hardless G , Meilinger T Person and Mallot HA Person: Virtual Reality and Spatial Cognition, 133-137. In: International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences, (Ed) James D. Wright, Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, (2015).
Vosgerau G Person, Knoll A , Meilinger T Person and Vogeley K : Repräsentation, 386-401. In: Handbuch Kognitionswissenschaft, (Ed) A. Stephan, Metzler, Stuttgart, Germany, (September-2013).

Technical reports (2):

Meilinger T Person, Riecke BE Person, Berger D Person and Bülthoff HH Person: A novel immersive virtual environment setup for behavioural experiments in humans, tested on spatial memory for environmental spaces, 158, Max-Planck-Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany, (March-2007).
pdf
Totzke I , Krüger H-P , Hofmann M , Meilinger T Person, Rauch N and Schmidt G : Kompetenzerwerb für Informationssysteme - Einfluss des Lernprozesses auf die Interaktion mit Fahrerinformationssystemen. Veröffentlichter Abschlussbericht (Förderkennzeichen BaSt FE 82.196/2001)., Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Verkehrswissenschaften (IZVW), Würzburg, (2004).

Posters (23):

de la Rosa S Person, Wahn Y Person, Bülthoff HH Person, Fademrecht L Person, Saulton A Person, Meilinger T Person and Chang D-S Person (July-2-2015): Does the two streams hypothesis hold for joint actions?, 6th Joint Action Meeting (JAM 2015), Budapest, Hungary.
de la Rosa S Person, Lubkull M , Streuber S Person, Saulton A Person, Meilinger T Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Cañal-Bruland R (May-16-2015): Motor planning and control: Humans interact faster with a human than a robot avatar, 15th Annual Meeting of the Vision Sciences Society (VSS 2015), St. Pete's Beach, FL, USA.
Meilinger T Person, Frankenstein J Person, Mohler BJ Person and Bülthoff HH Person (September-2014): How to remember Tübingen? Reference frames in route and survey knowledge of one’s city of residency, 12th Biannual Conference of the German Cognitive Science Society (KogWis 2014), Tübingen, Germany, Cognitive Processing, 15(Supplement 1) S53-S54.
Meilinger T Person, Frankenstein J Person, Watanabe K , Bülthoff HH Person and Hölscher C (September-2014): Map-based Reference Frames Are Used to Organize Memory of Subsequent Navigation Experience, Spatial Cognition 2014, Bremen, Germany.
O'Malley M Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Meilinger T Person (April-2014): How to find a shortcut within a city? Mental walk vs. mental model, 56th Conference of Experimental Psychologists (TeaP 2014), Giessen, Germany.
Meilinger T Person and Watanabe K (April-2014): Multiple Strategies for Spatial Integration, 56th Conference of Experimental Psychologists (TeaP 2014), Giessen, Germany.
Pape A-A Person, Wolbers T , Schultz J Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Meilinger T Person (November-2011): Grid cell remapping in humans, 41st Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience 2011), Washington, DC, USA.
Pape A-A Person, Wolbers T , Schultz J Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Meilinger T Person (October-2011): Grid cell remapping in humans, 12th Conference of Junior Neuroscientists of Tübingen (NeNA 2011), Heiligkreuztal, Germany.
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Last updated: Tuesday, 18.11.2014