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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

 

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.

 



Experienced and socially communicated spaces

 

How do we represent cities or buildings - by multiple local reference frames as we experienced them or by a single global reference frame, a “cognitive map”? Contrary to retrieving routes within ones city of residence the survey task of pointing to distant locations relies on a single, north oriented reference frame – probably acquired from maps. However, if survey knowledge was acquired from navigation pointing is based rather on multiple local reference frames (e.g., corresponding to a street or a room). Further questions are: How do humans integrate multiple views experienced during navigation within one single reference frame? How is information from navigation and maps combined? What is the neural basis for these processes?


Publications:

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

- Meilinger, T., Riecke, B.E., Bülthoff, H.H. (in press): Local and global reference frames for environmental spaces. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology.

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


 

Cooperation partners:

J. Frankenstein, J. Wiener, A. Berthoz, B.E. Riecke, B.J. Mohler, T. Wolbers, R. Conroy DaltonC. Hölscher, 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. First results indicate that observers avoided cones facing them and perceived them as closer and more hostile than cones facing elsewhere. 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

- Humboldt Foundation

 

 


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, however, seems to depend on already established long-term associations between corresponding verbal and spatial elements, e.g., the label "T-intersection" and a spatial representation of a T-intersection

 

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)

 

 


Strategies and aids for wayfinding

 

The way we navigate towards a location in a complex building depends on various factors. Visitors highly familiar with a building directly approach a goal region first, while unfamiliar navigators more often stick to highly visible or already known routes. Both groups adjust their strategies towards task requirements. In novel buildings navigators profit more from signs and qualitative route maps than from precise floor plans and cross sections. Combining signs and maps further improves performance. While wayfinding-aids ease navigation, they seem to slow down the acquisition of building knowledge. Furthermore, we showed that navigators concentrate on turns and walk straight by default.

 

Publications

-  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.

-  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.

- Hölscher, C., Büchner, S. J., Brösamle, M., Meilinger, T., & Strube, G. (2007). Signs and Maps: Cognitive Economy in the Use of External Aids for Indoor Navigation. 29th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 377–382).

- Meilinger, T., Hölscher, C., Büchner, S. J., & Brösamle, M. (2006). How Much Information Do You Need? Schematic Maps in Wayfinding and Self Localisation. International Conference Spatial Cognition 2006 (pp. 381–400).

- 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.

 

Cooperation partners:

C. Hölscher, G. Strube

 

Funding:

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

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

- Max Planck Society

 

 


Self movement perception and representation of 3D space

 

Humans locomote along the horizontal plane. However, within buildings they also have a vertical position. This project examines whether vertical movements are perceived in the same way as horizontal movements and how spaces extending also vertically such as buildings or cupboards are represented in memory.

 

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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Articles (14):

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.
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, -. In: International Encyclopedia of Social and Behavioral Sciences, (Ed) -, Elsevier, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, (January-2014). in press
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 (21):

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.
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.
Barnett-Cowan M Person, Meilinger T Person, Vidal M Person and Bülthoff HH Person (August-2010): Path integration in the third dimension, XXVI Bárány Society Meeting, Reykjavik, Iceland, Journal of Vestibular Research, 20(3-4) 282.
Meilinger T Person, Souman JL Person and Bülthoff HH Person (March-2010): Asymmetrien und die Konstruktion von Überblickswissen, 52. Tagung Experimentell Arbeitender Psychologen (TeaP 2010), Saarbrücken, Germany, Experimentelle Psychologie, 52 16.
Meilinger T Person, Frankenstein J Person, Holzer S Person and Brescani J-P Person (September-2009): The situational influence of location and body orientation on the recall of survey knowledge, 4th International Conference on Spatial Cognition (ICSC 2009), Roma, Italy, Cognitive Processes, 10(Supplement 2) S169.
Frankenstein J Person, Mohler B Person, Bülthoff HH Person and Meilinger T Person (August-2009): Distance and alignment effects in survey knowledge of a highly familiar city, 32nd European Conference on Visual Perception, Regensburg, Germany, Perception, 38(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 63.
Meilinger T Person, Schulte-Pelkum J Person, Frankenstein J Person, Laharnar N Person, Hardieß G , Mallot HA Person and Bülthoff HH Person (August-2009): Place naming: examining the influence of language on wayfinding, 31st Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (CogSci 2009), Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Meilinger T Person, Frankenstein J Person, Holzer S Person and Brescani J-P (August-2009): The influence of the current situation on the recall of survey knowledge: the case of location and body orientation, 32nd European Conference on Visual Perception, Regensburg, Germany, Perception, 38(ECVP Abstract Supplement) 66.
Meilinger T Person, Riecke BE Person, Laharnar N Person and Bülthoff HH Person (July-2007): Long-Term Memory for Environmental Spaces: the Case of Orientation Specificity, 10th Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK 2007), Tübingen, Germany.
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Last updated: Tuesday, 23.09.2014