New research shows that our brain uses two internal GPS systems: one that calculates the direct distance (as the crow flies) to a destination, and another that calculates the exact distance (including twists and turns) it takes to get there.
However when we are relying on our phones and GPS to get us to places – the study showed we do so at the cost of our navigational part of the brain.
Researchers found that when participants relied on navigational devices like GPS, their brains were far less active and no longer tracked the distance to the destination.
Apparently experienced London taxi drivers have been found to have an enlarged posterior hippocampus. That’s the bit of the brain that becomes active when keeping track of the road to the destination.
The hippocampus and the entornihal cortex (the part of the brain that works out the straight line to get where you want to go) appear to be the first areas that gets damaged with the onset of dementia.
We better think twice next time we grap our phone to get us to that great coffee spot!