EEG & Eye Tracking User Experiments for Spatial Memory Task on Maps

Keskin M., Ooms K., Doğru A. Ö., De Maeyer P.

ISPRS INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF GEO-INFORMATION, vol.8, no.12, 2019 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 8 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/ijgi8120546
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Keywords: eye tracking, EEG, spatial memory, cognitive load, cognitive cartography, cartographic user experiment design, FRONTAL ALPHA-ASYMMETRY, INDIVIDUAL-DIFFERENCES, WORKING-MEMORY, PERFORMANCE, THETA, TIME
  • Istanbul Technical University Affiliated: Yes


The aim of this research is to evaluate the use of ET and EEG for studying the cognitive processes of expert and novice map users and to explore these processes by comparing two types of spatial memory experiments through cognitive load measurements. The first experiment consisted of single trials and participants were instructed to study a map stimulus without any time constraints in order to draw a sketch map afterwards. According to the ET metrics (i.e., average fixation duration and the number of fixations per second), no statistically significant differences emerged between experts and novices. A similar result was also obtained with EEG Frontal Alpha Asymmetry calculations. On the contrary, in terms of alpha power across all electrodes, novices exhibited significantly lower alpha power, indicating a higher cognitive load. In the second experiment, a larger number of stimuli were used to study the effect of task difficulty. The same ET metrics used in the first experiment indicated that the difference between these user groups was not statistically significant. The cognitive load was also extracted using EEG event-related spectral power changes at alpha and theta frequency bands. Preliminary data exploration mostly suggested an increase in theta power and a decrease in alpha power.