How GPS is killing our ability to orient ourselves

How GPS is killing our ability to orient ourselves

The GPS navigation system has revolutionized driving as we knew it.

And it is that, thanks to it, we can move to places for which we need to carefully read a road guide and keep an eye on road signs just by following the directions of a sophisticated device, which even by voice offers us guidance that will allow us reach our destination.

But is this comfort good for our brain? We already know that driving is really beneficial for our brain, as it poses challenges for our brain day by day (interpreting signals, being aware of our speed, watching the rest of the cars) that will help us maintain cerebrovascular health.

Transhumanism at the wheel

The drive to facilitate our daily (and not so daily) tasks has allowed science to develop innovative products generously received by the entire population. Thus, we have a device that practically makes us food (thermomix), a mobile phone that in addition to calls and messaging keeps us entertained on the bus and, of course, navigation devices that will facilitate access to almost anywhere. All this transhumanizationIt is nicking areas of the brain that were kept active to perform tasks, which are gradually losing their usefulness in the practical set of the organism.

The president of the Royal Institute of Navigation in the UK Roger Mckinlay warns us that GPS is ending our understanding of navigation, being necessary to return to the dated but interactive route map.

How does the use of GPS affect our brains?

Starting in 2009 with a study conducted with taxi drivers, it showed how they obtained a lower score in navigation and orientation tests compared to mere active drivers.

Now, facing the navigation and driving capabilities of London taxi drivers and bus drivers, they have resulted in the conclusion that has allowed their publication in the prestigious magazine Nature;bus drivers have a lower hippocampus than taxi drivers.

To understand this concept, we must know the role of the hippocampus, that small area in our brain that well illustrates the figure and that is in charge of processing emotions and is involved in tasks such as the conception of navigation, being closely related to memory and perception. So after different tests, it was found that the hippocampus part related to the spatial representation It was lower for bus drivers, possibly due to the repetition of the journey and not the routes that a taxi driver might suggest.

It may not be such a bad idea not to abuse new technologies, clear and keep our brains tested day by day.

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