Visual Navigation Under High-Stress Conditions

There are known individual differences in both ability to learn the layout of novel environments and flexibility of strategies for navigating known environments. It is unclear, however, how navigational abilities and situational awareness are impacted by high-stress scenarios and whether augmented reality (AR) could be employed to enhance performance and situational awareness.

This project will investigate three core questions:

  • How does a person’s navigational abilities change in extreme situations?
  • How can we best train them for these situations?
  • How can vision augmentation be employed to improve situational awareness?

Project Team

Project Affiliates:

Principal Investigators:

Michael Beyeler

Assistant Professor

Mary Hegarty

Distinguished Professor

Scott Grafton

Distinguished Professor

Project Funding


UARC W911NF-19-D-0001 Task 21: Visual navigation under high-stress conditions
PI: Michael Beyeler, Mary Hegarty, Scott Grafton, Barry Giesbrecht

October 2021 - September 2024
Institute for Collaborative Biotechnologies (ICB)
Department of the Army


We used immersive virtual reality to develop a novel behavioral paradigm to examine navigation under dynamically changing, high-stress situations.

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