Relying on GPS and turning off our own internal navigation systems may actually damage the brain and inhibit memory overall, according to a study by neurological researchers.
The website BestLife reports a study published in the journal Scientific Reports looked at 50 drivers, and that those who used GPS more often had worse spatial memory — the ability to remember the position of objects and places — when trying to navigate without the mapping technology. When 13 of the participants were retested three years later, more frequent GPS usage was associated with worse spatial memory. who found that the brains of frequent GPS users were different in a critical way than people who weren’t so reliant on the technology.
“We did spatial memory tests and found that degradation was correlated to GPS frequency,” Véronique Bohbot, co-author of the study and a professor of psychiatry at McGill University, told the Toronto Star. “There was a difference between people who use GPS every day for every trip and the people who didn’t use GPS at all or just occasionally, say, once a month.”
The report also notes that scientists think that navigation was a key reason people began to use their memory in the first place, and that when people have good spatial memory, they have better cognition and less risk of Alzheimer’s disease.”
(Picture – screenshot from TomTom)