In a world where online-media plays an ever increasingly important role supplanting increasingly more aspects of real-life experiences, the question is raised on how the particular kind of media a person is exposed to influences the retelling of the experience (language production) and its mental representation (conceptualization). In this experiment, participants gave written route directions for a route they got to know through different media. Four conditions were tested: 1) a video of the route 2) a plan of the area complemented with photographs of the surroundings and 3) a multimedia combination of 1) and 2). A baseline was provided by 4) walking the route in the real world (no-media condition). The participants (N=88) were adult native German speakers. The texts were compared to assess text length, number of landmarks used, and the specifications provided by them. Results show that participants exposed to video routes produced texts similar to those texts based on real life experiences. Experiencing the route only through a map produced shorter texts that contained fewer landmarks. Based on these results, the map can be interpreted to be the least natural experience. Further results showed that decision points are easily identified in the real world or using a plan, but less so based only on a video, since the first-person perspective of the video obstructs the decision points or passes them too quickly. The findings suggest that exposure to different media leads to different cognitive maps that in turn lead to different route directions.
Landmarks, route directions, media, video, plan