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Saskia Kuliga

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Saskia Kuliga, MSc

University of Freiburg
Center for Cognitive Science

Friedrichstr. 50

D-79098 Freiburg, Germany


Research interests

  • Psychology    (Environmental / Architectural)
  • Human Wayfinding in Architectural Indoor Environments
  • User Experience and Usability Research for Buildings
  • Spatial Cognition
  • Space Syntax
  • Human Media Interaction

In February 2012, Saskia started her PhD-project at the Center for Cognitive Science in Freiburg. She is supervised by Prof. Christoph Hölscher (ETH Zürich/University of Freiburg). 

The R6[SpaceGuide] project seeks to better understand human and robot wayfinding processes in interaction with their physical and virtual environment. Methods include real-world observation studies (often post-occupancy) and Virtual Reality (VR) experimentation in complex, public buildings, such as airports, hospitals and libraries. 

The team also works on how to support architects in designing buildings in which users can navigate well; this involves observing the design process itself. Furthermore, we study spatial differentiation and the effects of circulation on human behavior, and  investigate to what extent VR can be used as a research tool. Saskia's doctoral dissertation will be rounded and electronically published in 2015.

Starting in February 2015, Saskia will continue her doctoral dissertation, while being engaged in a new project: ESUM, a collaboration between ETH Zürich and Bauhaus University Weimar. This project will focus on user experience in urban environments (more info at ).

For detailed descriptions of collaborative work, please see below.

Curriculum Vitae

2/2012  - ongoing

PhD-student in Spatial Cognition (TR8/R6)
Center for Cognitive Science, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany
Supervisor: Prof. Christoph Hölscher, ETH Zürich/Uni Freiburg.

7/2011 – 12/2011


8/2010 – 6/2011

Junior researcher
Psychology of Conflict, Risk & Safety (Prof. Ellen Giebels, in collaboration with the department of Human Media Interaction, Prof. Dirk Heylen, University of Twente, The Netherlands.
Research assistant
"Science Shop", University of Twente.

2005 - 2010

Master of Science in Psychology
University of Twente, The Netherlands
MSc: “Effects of an Image of Eyes on Implicit Activation of Norms of Compliance and on Hand Hygiene Behavior”. (
Dr. Karin Tanja-Dijkstra, University of Plymouth, UK; & Dr. Fenne Verhoeven, University of Applied Science, Utrecht, NL. Thesis nominated for the “Healthcare Innovation Award”; ended in Top5).

- BSc: “Voice or tune? Effects of vocal and instrumental music on dental anxiety”, (Dr. Karin Tanja-Dijkstra, University of Plymouth, UK, & Thomas van Rompay, University of Twente, Netherlands).

- Minor: “Sustainable Development”, 4 months internship in South-Africa and qualitative study: “The effects of working in a small-business on local women’s perceived future perspective” 


SFB/TR 8 Project R6-[SpaceGuide]


Papers in Journals

  • Dalton, R., Kuliga, S., & Hölscher, C. (2013). POE 2.0: exploring the potential of social media for capturing unsolicited post occupancy evaluations. Intelligent Buildings International, 5, 3, 162–180. Special Issue: Post-occupancy evaluation. ISSN 1750-8975; DOI 10.1080/17508975.2013.800813. (Access via:

  • Kuliga, S., Dalton, R., & Hölscher, C. (submitted). Virtual Reality as Empirical Research Tool – Exploring User Experience in a Real Building and a Corresponding Virtual Model. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems, Special Issue: The Use of Virtual Reality for Environmental Representations; if accepted: January 2015.

Articles in Conference Proceedings, with oral conference presentation

  • Kuliga, S., Dalton, R., & Hölscher, C. (2013). Aesthetic and Emotional Appraisal of the Seattle Public Library and its relation to spatial configurationProceedings of the International Space Syntax Symposium 2013, Seoul, South-Korea, Eds: Kim, Y.O., Park, H.T., Seo, K.W., Sejong University; 077:1-17.(Access

  • Schneider, S.,  Kuliga, S., Hölscher, C., Dalton, R.C., Kunert, A., Kulik, A., Donath, D. (2013). Educating Architecture Students to Design Buildings from the Inside Out: Experiences from a research-based design studio. Proceedings of the Ninth International Space Syntax Symposium, Seoul, South-Korea. Eds: Kim, Y.O., Park, H.T., Seo, K.W., Sejong University, 001:1-18. (Access:

Short-papers in Conference Proceedings
 (< 6000 words)

  • Von Stülpnagel, R., Kuliga, S., Büchner, S.J., Hölscher, C. (2014). Supra-individual consistencies in navigator-driven landmark placement for spatial learning. 36th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Quebec City, Canada, 1706-1711. (Access:
  • Kuliga, S., Beinhofer, M., Langenfeld, V., Fleckenstein, F., Dufner, S., Von Stülpnagel, R., Burgard, W., & Hölscher, C. (2014). Spatial Ambiguity in Indoor Environments – A Comparison Between the Human and the Robot Perspective of Spatial Ambiguity Identification. Proceedings of Spatial Cognition Conference 2014 Poster Presentations, Bremen, Germany, 64-67.(Access:

Conference presentations, abstract-based 
  • Kuliga,S., Tanja-Dijkstra, K., Verhoeven, F. (2011). Effects of an Image of Eyes on Implicit Activation of Norms of Compliance and on Hand Hygiene Behavior. 9th Biennial Conference on Environmental Psychology, Eindhoven (NL), September 2011. (Access via:

Poster Presentations, abstract-based 

  • Hölscher, C., Dalton, R.C., Kuliga, S., Tomko, M. (2014). Towards Computer-Assisted Wayfinding Design Support : Interview-based needs analysis across stakeholders. DCC'14, p.31, London, United Kingdom. (Access via:

  • Kuliga, S., Von Stülpnagel, R., Hölscher, C. (2013). Navigator-driven placement of landmarks: effects on wayfinding performance (and relations to space syntax) in a virtual Tate Gallery London. 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, Berlin, Germany. (Access via:

  • Kuliga, S., Tanja-Dijkstra, K., VanRompay, T., (2012). Come Away With Me: Effects of classical and instrumental music on dental anxiety. Interdisciplinary College (IK) 2012 - Emotion and Aesthetics,Günne am Möhnesee (Germany), March 2012. 


Work in Progress papers

  • Natapov, A, Kuliga, S., Hölscher, C. (in preparation). The effects of circulation typology on wayfinding (working title). 
  • Kuliga, S., Shelton, A., Dalton, R.C., Carlson, L., Hoelscher, C. (in preparation). Wayfinding in the Seattle Public Library (working title).


  • Summer 2014
Advise for Study Set-up to Zenny Cheung, doctoral student from Prof Ruth Dalton at Northumbria University in Newcastle, and Prof Christoph Hölscher. Wayfinding in a Shopping Mall compared to a traditional pedestrian street in Hong-Kong (working title).
  • Summer 2013
Human Computer Interaction and Usability (, together with Verena Schnitzler
  • Winter  2012/2013
Assistance of Prof. Christoph Hölscher's Course Navigationsverhalten in Stadt & Innenräumen, Virtual Reality Techniken & Simulation (Projektseminar), together with Rul von Stülpnagel

Work in Detail / Collaborations 

In May 2012, Saskia conducted a wayfinding study in the Seattle Public Library; WA, USA, that followed-up previous work by Dr. Amy Shelton, Dr. Laura Carlson et al (2011). Saskia worked together with Prof. Ruth Conroy Dalton (Northumbria University) on investigating the potential of unsolicited user comments for post-occupancy-evaluation of the Seattle Public Library (Dalton, Kuliga & Hoelscher, IBI, 2013). 

Saskia’s work also includes studies about human and robot dynamic landmark placement; e.g. in a virtual reality Tate Gallery (with Rul von Stüpnagel, Maximilian Beinhofer, and Vincent Langenfeld of the University of Freiburg). The VR-model was kindly provided by Ruth Conroy Dalton.

Other projects include collaborations with architects, e.g. about building circulation, with Asya Natapov (Technion Israel Institute of Technology); and architectural education, with Sven Schneider (infAR / Bauhaus University of Weimar). 

Another project involves evaluating the design of a new university building in Melbourne, Australia, which was a project in collaboration with Dr. Martin Tomko (department of Architecture, Building & Planning) and Prof. Christoph Hölscher (ETH Zürich).

We currently conduct a behavioral study in a virtual model of an existing conference center in Günne am Möhnesee, which follows-up previous work by Prof. Hölscher and Dr. Brösamle. This excites the question, to what extent VR can be used as research tool, and what prerequisites are needed (Kuliga, Dalton & Hoelscher, submitted to Computers, Environment and Urban Systems).


  • Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center Network (SILC),
  • Cognitive Science Society;
  • Gesellschaft für Kognitionswissenschaft, (until Dec 2014)



Raumpsychologie, Architekturpsychologie, Umweltpsychologie, Wegfindung, User Experience, Design, Architektur, 

Pre-Occupancy, Post-Occupancy, architecture, interaction, human behavior, wayfinding