Monday, January 21, 2008

Lost often? Your 'brain GPS' at fault

Do you often get disoriented or lost while trying to find a way through the city streets? Well simply blame it on your brain.

Researchers in Britain have found that two key parts of the brain "talk" to each other and allow people to remember routes as well as plan new ones, but if either of these is not working, the ability to find the way around gets impaired.

While the first part called the hippocampus stores memories about key locations and landmarks, the other brain cells, known as grid cells, provide the internal sense of space and distance, like a GPS system.

According to the researchers, in those people who get lost easily, navigation cells are less efficient at talking to each other, so they get lost. "People who get lost easily don't make good use of their grid cells. These provide us with information about distance, movement and direction while linking to memories about specific landmarks. For each location a specific pattern of cells will send signals to trigger a particular memory.

"For example the entrance to Top Shop on your local high street will have one pattern while another will trigger a memory of St Pancras station. By talking to each other in this way, the cells allow the brain to produce a route it has to follow," lead researcher Dr Hugo Spiers of University College London was quoted by The Sunday Telegraph as saying.

According to them, training the cells can help people navigate more easily and it may explain how a city's cabbies gain the encyclopedic "knowledge" of the roads.

12 Comments:

At January 21, 2008 at 6:26 AM, Blogger Tom & Icy said...

Complicated. Is that how pigeons, ducks or geese or other migrating animals know where they're going? Could be. But their brains are so tiny.

 
At January 21, 2008 at 7:10 AM, Blogger Vishnupriya Janardhanan said...

ah the grid cells...how i hate them!They always manage to convince me that the wrong direction is the right one!

 
At January 21, 2008 at 12:16 PM, Blogger c e e d y said...

thanks for visiting my blog :)

one needs to talk to oneself more - thats the gist.....

or else you end up somewhere where you dont want to be :)

 
At January 21, 2008 at 3:57 PM, Blogger Keshi said...

tnxx for dropping by Raghu!

My brain cells need a break btw ;-)


Keshi.

 
At January 22, 2008 at 2:50 AM, Blogger Nessa said...

I always knew my cells were having a gab fest; D

Very interesting.

 
At January 22, 2008 at 9:20 AM, Blogger (¯`•._.•[Raaji]•._.•´¯) said...

i dont usually get lost... this means i dont have anything to worry about, right?
Hehe
Interesting post
Cheers!

 
At January 24, 2008 at 6:36 PM, Blogger مُسلِمَة said...


peace be upon u

v interesting post
thx ,
really we have billions of amazing transactions that our small brain do in less than afemto-second

how amazing

 
At January 25, 2008 at 2:50 PM, Blogger Cynthia said...

I learn so many useful things when I visit here. Thanks Raghu.

 
At January 26, 2008 at 2:49 PM, Blogger Mel Avila Alarilla said...

Hi Raghu,
What an informative post, thanks for it. When I was still driving, I often get lost because my mind was always wandering around and I shift myself to automatic drive. It's a good thing that being lost when driving can be remedied. I don't have to drive in circles when I get lost. He, he, he, *lol* Thanks for the wonderful post. God bless you and your family always.

 
At January 26, 2008 at 9:37 PM, Blogger Kalyan said...

nice reading this post...thanks for sharing!

 
At January 27, 2008 at 11:29 AM, Blogger GMG said...

Things that we learn here!
I've to tell some friends to start using their grid cells... ;))
Have a great weeek!

 
At February 5, 2008 at 9:35 PM, Blogger G said...

What a very interesting post. So nice to have met you.

 

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