Why Your GPS Is Bad For Your Brain

Could you drive unassisted?

22 March 2017

Article heading image for Why Your GPS Is Bad For Your Brain

Pic: Consumer Reports 

Most Aussie drivers are pretty reliant on their GPS to get them around town, but research has found the technology is actually stopping part of our brains from working.

Scientists studying what satnavs do to the brain have found people using them effectively switch off parts of the brain that would otherwise be utilised to simulate different routes and boost navigational skills. 

When manually navigating, activity in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex brain regions spikes. But these weren't identified while test subjects were following simple GPS instructions.

If we keep using them to the extent we are, experts are worried in the long-term we'll find it very difficult to travel anywhere unassisted. 

"When we have technology telling us which way to go, these parts of the brain simply don't respond to the street network," Hugo Spiers of University College London's department of experimental psychology told AAP.

"In that sense our brain has switched off its interest in the streets around us."

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