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Is your GPS making you dumb?


It seems that excessive satellite navigation use is turning parts of our brain off, scientists have found.

 

IMAGE: SHUCHENG COUNTY POLICE/WEIBO

 

Apparently, when we use our own faculties to navigate an area, our hippocampus and prefrontal cortex (the bits that help us plan and make decisions) experience big spikes in activity. By turning instead to Google Maps, we're effectively turning off those parts of our brains, Lonely Planet reported.

 

Scientists tested their theory by measuring the brain activity of volunteers as they made their way around the often confusing streets of London's Soho district, some with the aid of a GPS, others without.

 

"Entering a junction such as Seven Dials in London, where seven streets meet, would enhance activity in the hippocampus, whereas a dead-end would drive down its activity," University College London Doctor Hugo Spiers, said.

 

"If you are having a hard time navigating the mass of streets in a city, you are likely putting high demands on your hippocampus and prefrontal cortex."

 

And if you don't believe the scientific evidence, consider the poor bloke in China who drove his car into a river because his GPS told him to.

 

According to Mashable, the man told local police that he was simply following his GPS, not realising that the dirt road he was on was heading into the water.

 

It reportedly took police half a day to pull the car from the water.

 


Written by: Gaya Avery
Published: 10 April 2017

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