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Leave the GPS and Exercise Your Brain

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Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 04:14 PM Current | Bio | Archive

As the informant "Deep Throat" told journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein: If you want to find the criminals, "Follow the money."

If only it were that simple when it came to finding your destination in an unfamiliar place.

That's why so many people think the best advice is to "follow the GPS!"

But there's one problem: You don't learn how to navigate by blindly following instructions, and that can dull your wits or even lead to disaster.

Remember the couple who were stranded in an Oregon national park last year after following their GPS straight into a pile of snow?

Recently British researchers monitored the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex activity of volunteers while they drove through London.

Apparently navigating and driving through the streets puts a very high demand on your hippocampus and prefrontal cortex — the parts of your brain that use and strengthen working and reference memory.

Unfortunately, the opposite is true when you navigate using GPS. You pretty much disengage your hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, and don't really get to know your surroundings — and you're doing one more digital activity that distances you from engagement in real life.

So expand your neural network by opening an atlas, get an online map and study the roadways and routes available. Then head out for an adventure.

If you make a wrong turn, don't fret. We bet you can do better than that relying on your brain and eyes.

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Navigating and driving through the streets puts a very high demand on your hippocampus and prefrontal cortex — the parts of your brain that use and strengthen working and reference memory.
memory, hippocampus, GPS, Dr. Oz
239
2017-14-20
Thursday, 20 Apr 2017 04:14 PM
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