Using GPS Shuts Down Part Of The Brain; Sattelite Navigation Detrimental To Brain's Health?

By Jeff Thompson - 22 Mar '17 19:05PM
  • NY Taxi Drivers Strike Over New Technologies
  • (Photo : Michael Nagle/Getty) The latest study would help to identify why many disengage their common sense while driving.

Technology has helped the life of humans in a greater way and simplified it in many aspects. It also brought some consequences to the people. The latest study confirms that using GPS can switch off humans' brain part where navigation is analyzed and the decision is already provided for them as people would simply follow the GPS instructions without putting any route planning in the brain.

There were already apprehensions that GPS navigation could bring down the common sense of people. "When we use technology for navigation, the parts of the brain that usually responds to navigation do not respond at all. This means that the streets are not getting registered in our brain," said Hugo Spiers, the researcher who lead the study and a prominent Neurologist at the University College London. The study also reveals how people who consistently depend on GPS navigation, struggle to find the direction even at the places they have traveled before.

The study was conducted on 24 volunteers, and they were asked to use GPS navigation to locate a Soho in central London by simultaneously scanning their brains. It is found that while they were directing manually, a part of the brain called hippocampus found to be active. It should be noted that hippocampus is the area of the brain that helps to navigation and memory. Where there are too many navigation options on the street, the spikes in hippocampus gone up. But, no spikes noted when they started using satellite navigation.

"Entering areas like Seven Dials, London, has really increased the spikes as it is a junction of seven streets meet, while dead-ends reduced its activity drastically," said Spiers. The study suggested that people who wanted better spatial navigation skills, should not use satellite navigation. However, individuals who wanted to get out to the destination with little effort can choose the devices. There are also talks that the consequences are not all negative and dependence of GPS devices can free the human brain for specializing other areas.

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