Sunday, March 8, 2015


THC has been troubled by the over reliance of people on satellite navigation systems whether in cars or phones.  Now it has been scientifically proven (as reported by the Daily Mail Online, a well-known and respected peer reviewed journal) that those dependent upon those devices are  . . . well, there's no gentle way to put this . . .  becoming dumber.

A few tidbits from the research:
Research published in April 2011 shows our growing use of satnavs stops us using the brain's sophisticated capacity for mapping surroundings as we pass them and building those impressions into a mental picture.
Dr Rosamund Langston, a lecturer in neuroscience at the University of Dundee who conducted the study, said that by using satnavs, we wither away our 'caveman' ability to familiarise ourselves with new surroundings by memorising snapshots of them.

At the beginning of a journey, a region of the brain called the entorhinal cortex mentally constructs an as-the-crow-flies line to the destination. Once we are under way, however, a different area of the brain computes the precise distance along the path to get there. This region is the posterior hippocampus, which is also known for its role in forming memory.
We increasingly rely on an electronic arrow to lead us through the world

Disturbingly, the study, published in the journal Current Biology, found that neither of these brain regions was active when the volunteers used satnavs. In fact, the volunteers' brains were much less active in general.

The hippocampus and entorhinal cortex are among the first regions to be damaged in age-related cognitive impairment and dementia associated with Alzheimer's disease. The concern must be that losing our ancient way-finding skills may make us more prone to such conditions.
As a reminder, the proper way to perform navigation on land is with a hard copy map which can be use to create a mental image of the terrain from the perspective of a bird high aloft with a 360 degree vista.  Exercise your entorhinal cortex!
THC anxiously waits additional insight on this pressing issue from the Official Science Advisor to this Blog, the THC Son.

1 comment:

  1. Good point. I have never have used GPS. Instead, I always drive and my wife always navigates. This leaves me with zero idea of how to make a return trip, but I don't care (ignorance is bliss). Anyway, why pay attention now. My hippocampus and entorhinal cortex functions have been shot for years, just ask my wife. dm