No Sense Of Direction

The advent of Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) navigation has been a godsend, especially for people with poor spatial orientation or sense of direction. Even those like me with adequate directional skills who were getting tired of thumbing through Thomas Guides have been grateful for GPS navigation. As a matter of fact, I can no longer imagine having a car without navigation built into it (thankfully, many car manufacturers are making this feature standard in some car models), and when I travel I make good use of the navigation application on my cell phone.

GPS and BrainHere is what I don’t like about GPS navigation. I don’t think people pay nearly as much attention to where they are going, and instead act sort of like drones as they follow the directions on the navigation system without looking at their surroundings. It is as though the virtual roads are more ingrained in our memories than the actual terrain on which we are traveling. This means that we never fully experience the mental mapping that usually occurs when we are fully aware of our surroundings. In addition, if we make a wrong turn, GPS systems simply recalculate, so we never learn to re-map, and instead blindly follow the adjusted prompts.

While typing this I ran across an excellent article on The Boston Globe site which is a must-read.

http://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2013/08/17/our-brains-pay-price-for-gps/d2Tnvo4hiWjuybid5UhQVO/story.html

Honestly, I think we need to pay more attention to the real world in front of us instead of allowing technology to turn us into idiots. Go ahead and use the GPS, but be aware of your surroundings as you travel around. Your brain will benefit.

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