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The GPS of the mobile locks down the GPS of the brain


If you use GPS on your mobile phone very often to find your destination, the news is not very pleasant for your natural GPS.

Frequent use of satellite navigation has the effect of shutting down areas of the brain used for the orientation and cognitive processing of alternative routes. So, as the years go by, people will become more and more incapable of finding the way for themselves.

Internal GPS is considered one of the many wonders of the brain and the discovery of related specialized nerve cells in the mouse brain hippocampus led to the Nobel Prize of Medicine / Physiology in 2014.

Researchers at University College London (UCL), led by Dr. Hugo Spears of the Department of Experimental Psychology, who published the journal Nature Communications, studied at the laboratory 24 volunteers who were asked to perform virtual paths in a SoHo simulation in the center of London, while studying their brain with imaging techniques.

The research focused on the brain activity of the hippocampus (involved in memory and orientation) and the prefrontal cortex (involved in planning and decision making).

When volunteers navigated in an area (the computer) only with their own forces, their brains showed particular activity, especially when they were testing new roads. But when the volunteers followed the outside GPS command, the same brain regions remained inactive.

When we have the technology to tell us which road to take, these areas of our brain do not respond. In a sense, our brain has ceased to be interested in the streets around us, “said Spears.

A previous British study had shown that the London hippocampus of the London taxi drivers is growing, the more they memorize the maze of the streets of the British capital. Something that is not happening in an area like New York’s impeccably “squared” Manhattan, but it is probably happening in a city like London or Athens.

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