Wayfinding experiments can be conducted in real and virtual environments. In a real environment it’s often impossible to exclude the presence of others from experiments; the majority of real-world wayfinding experiments in complex settings are generally performed in populous settings. Conversely, virtual wayfinding experiments are often performed in simulations utterly devoid of other people, as it’s a technical challenge to populate a virtual test-environment with agents of sufficiently realistic appearance and behaviour. It’s clear that the presence (or absence) of people within any environment constitutes an experimental variable, one that has never been controlled for and one about which we know little. The primary question of this paper is what effect does the presence of others have on wayfinding performance? This paper will outline a new hypothesis regarding the role of other people in everyday, wayfinding behaviour: this is termed the person-space/person-place cue proposition. The newly developed hypotheses underpinning this paper are that people, in un-crowded, relatively sparse environments (i.e. the ‘normal’ milieu), influence others in one of two ways, in this paper, they will be termed ‘person-place cues’ and ‘person-space cues’ respectively. The first part of this dualhypothesis concerns the ‘person-place cues’. The idea of this hypothesis is that the location of people in an environment is suggestive of the popularity of that place (a clear distinction is made here between space, as neutral container and place as experiential, ‘lived-space’). This might be due to a temporary event that is taking place in the space or more permanent activities located there (e.g. shops). We ‘read’ this inferred popularity and make decisions accordingly. The suggestion, in this paper, is that this type of inference is more likely to effect exploratory type behaviours such as exploring a new city, wandering through an art gallery or even unstructured (i.e. spontaneous) shopping trips. The second part of this hypothesis concerns the ‘person-space cues’. Space syntax research is based upon the fact that all spatial systems (complex buildings, settlements etc) form configurations or ‘sets of spatial relations’. Within each complex environment there exists a spatial hierarchy, with some spaces being intrinsically more important or strategic whilst others are more segregated and less important. Space syntax theories suggest that we are able to ‘pick up’ visual cues leading to inferences about a space’s importance or equally lack of importance. For example, within most typical cities, the more strategic roads will tend to be those that contain longer, unbroken lines of sight, terminating at obtuse angles and will often be wider and more highly connected roads than, for example, minor side-streets. We ‘read’ these visual cues unconsciously having learnt their spatial significance as part of our early development. On the whole there will be an agreement between the numbers of people walking along the street and that street’s strategic importance and this is also something that we are unconsciously aware of. If you walk along Oxford Street in the city of London, you would expect it to be crowded, however if you turn off onto a minor side-street you would experience a sudden and significant drop in the numbers of people encountered. This would not be perceived as being out of the ordinary. However, if there is a sudden mismatch between the perceived spatial hierarchy of a street and the number of people encountered on it, i.e. the pattern of occupancy, then this will be read as being a somewhat ‘strange’ or ‘unexpected’ phenomenon (i.e. if you were to walk down Oxford Street and find it almost empty) and, it is argued here, that this could contribute to the process of wayfinding decision making. For example, if there were fewer people than you would expect (i.e. in the rather extreme Oxford Street example above) you might begin to wonder if you had stumbled into the middle of an ‘emergency situation’ and therefore, it would be most prudent to attempt to return to a place of personal safety. Conversely, if you were about to turn down a relatively minor side street, where the expectation would be that it would be occupied by few or even no Paper in Proposed Symposium others, and, instead, you were to observe a small group of people gathered. You would, again, register the incongruity of this spatial-mismatch and make other inferences (possibly that the reason for their presence could be potentially nefarious) and change your route-plan accordingly. It is clear that the two above hypotheses are connected and this is one of the challenges of developing an experimental framework to test the effects of the person-space and person-place cues. Over time, more popular streets will tend to attract shops, which, in turn, will attract more people and so a multiplier effect will take place. However, for the purposes of this paper, and for the purposes of the experimental framework that will be outlined in the second section of this paper, we will only be considering person-space cues and so will only be examining wayfinding and excluding exploratory tasks (these tasks and behaviours would contribute to another mirrorset of experiments).