Why Using Your GPS Is Ruining Your Brain
In the UK, volunteers underwent a series of simulated tests while fMRIs captured their brain activity. When the volunteers were navigating on their own – without GPS – researchers noted spikes of activity in the hippocampus, which is involved in memory and spatial navigation; and in the prefrontal cortex, a key area for planning and decision making.
Then, when the participants were using GPS, the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex went completely inactive. This told the researchers that, when GPS does the thinking and planning for you, your brain basically checks out.
Using the hippocampus is super important, because we suspect it stores mental maps, sort of like our brain’s very own GPS. It help us remember where we’ve been and where we’re going in 3-dimensional space.