Virtual Reality Environments (VRE) is relatively new types of human-computer interaction interfaces in which users perceive and act in a 3D world. Researchers use it both as a tool and as an experimental area for their studies. In this study, a desktop VRE was created and used to explore the role of attention for visual perception of 60 university students who participated to the study. The findings showed that configurational knowledge can be attained in desktop VRE. Furthermore, it is found that visual attention has a significant role on forming cognitive maps since the incidental formation of a cognitive map seems to be not possible on the basis of our results. © (2009) by the AIS/ICIS Administrative Office All rights reserved.