Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Daniel Burns




landmarks, navigation, maze, research


Navigation is an essential activity that dictates which environments individuals choose to travel through. Effective navigation occurs when individuals reach their destination point efficiently and without harm. Previous research dictates that landmarks are one of the most popular ways in which individuals maintain orientation and remember a route. The goal of the current study was to investigate how emotional landmarks (landmarks that hold either a positive or negative connotation) effect navigational decision-making. Based on individuals’ tendencies to choose low risk options, it was hypothesized that participants would use the positive landmarks more effectively (i.e. participants would travel in the direction of the positive landmarks, allowing them to reach the destination point faster). Sixty participants completed a virtual reality maze. Throughout the maze were either positively or negatively rated pictures. Each participant completed four trials of the same maze, and had a minute and a half to find the destination point during each trial. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire and a Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS) afterwards. Contrary to my hypothesis, neither females nor males utilized positive landmarks more effectively and efficiently in the virtual reality environment. Instead, females preferred negative landmarks, and performed better in the virtual reality maze when exposed to these landmarks.