How Controller Embodiment Affects Task Performance in Computer Simulated Training

Derek Harter, Shulan Lu, Paweena Sintupan, and Pratyush Kotturu


Computer based learning, interaction devices and tools, grounded cognition, common coding theory


Common coding theory [1] and grounded or situated theories of cognition [2] have as a fundamental assumption that perceptual codes and action plans share a common representational format. This shared coding has implications for learning and training of real-world tasks in computer simulated environments (CSE). For instance, more natural sensory-motor contingencies in terms of the controllers or environment display should be expected to more readily tap into existing sensory-motor codes, and thus result in better training transfer. In this research report, we compare a standard mouse controller to a WiiMote controller for performing a simple everyday action-oriented task in a CSE. Users show differences on task performance depending on the type of controller, but more so in the timing of performing the task rather then the accuracy or correctness of task performance. Not surprisingly, users take longer to plan and execute tasks with the WiiMote controller, which we claim has more natural sensory-motor contingencies for our task than a mouse controller and thus trigger user to act with caution in the context of a potentially risky task. We report these differences and discuss implications of the results to training in computer simulated environments, as well as insights into theories of grounded cognition.

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