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Thread: Habitual use of GPS negatively impacts spatial memory during self-guided navigation

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Habitual use of GPS negatively impacts spatial memory during self-guided navigation

    Louisa Dahmani1 and Véronique D. Bohbot2
    Sci Rep.
    2020; 10: 6310.
    Published online 2020 Apr 14. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-62877-0

    Abstract

    Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation devices and applications have become ubiquitous over the last decade. However, it is unclear whether using GPS affects our own internal navigation system, or spatial memory, which critically relies on the hippocampus. We assessed the lifetime GPS experience of 50 regular drivers as well as various facets of spatial memory, including spatial memory strategy use, cognitive mapping, and landmark encoding using virtual navigation tasks. We first present cross-sectional results that show that people with greater lifetime GPS experience have worse spatial memory during self-guided navigation, i.e. when they are required to navigate without GPS. In a follow-up session, 13 participants were retested three years after initial testing. Although the longitudinal sample was small, we observed an important effect of GPS use over time, whereby greater GPS use since initial testing was associated with a steeper decline in hippocampal-dependent spatial memory. Importantly, we found that those who used GPS more did not do so because they felt they had a poor sense of direction, suggesting that extensive GPS use led to a decline in spatial memory rather than the other way around. These findings are significant in the context of society’s increasing reliance on GPS.

    Read more: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7156656/
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    Moderator Julieanne's Avatar
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    Default Re: Habitual use of GPS negatively impacts spatial memory during self-guided navigati

    I don't have a GPS, as I avoid driving to unfamiliar places. I have lost confidence in driving now I'm older, and certainly don't drive at night any more. I have to rely on being driven by volunteer drivers who work for an aged care organisation, It is subsidised, so fairly inexpensive.

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    Veteran Member grulla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Habitual use of GPS negatively impacts spatial memory during self-guided navigati

    I can't quite remember my first GPS that may have been issued to me by my railroad telecom dept, inclusive in my Blackberry phone??? But I do remember eventually being issued an early model Garmin GPS for the purpose of recording latitude/longitude co-ordinates, and posted on the walls of all our FCC registered radio site location buildings. It was somewhat user friendly, but a subsequent newer model Garmin was too complicated, and being the "luddite" that I am...
    So after I retired in 2010, I sought out an on-line, single purpose GPS device, very similar to the one on this link, https://www.aliexpress.com/item/2251...apt=4itemAdapt, and a bit pricey at the time for ~$30.00+ USD, imported from Asia, as I could not find anything like it domestically. All I wanna know is where I am, and not the rest of the complicated mumbo-jumbo, (such as travel trip maps and elapsed time). To this day, the palm/pocket sized GPS is kept on battery charge off the side of my lappy USB port. Of course, the google satellite maps do a great job of tracing GPS locations, with the URL constantly changing as one shifts from east to west to north to south, great stuff.
    Last edited by grulla; 07-20-22 at 10:00 AM.

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    Veteran Member grulla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Habitual use of GPS negatively impacts spatial memory during self-guided navigati

    Quote Originally Posted by Islander View Post
    ....Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation devices and applications have become ubiquitous over the last decade. However, it is unclear whether using GPS affects our own internal navigation system, or spatial memory, which critically relies on the hippocampus. ...
    Why would they. That question suggests to me that the GPS devices were surgically implanted.

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Habitual use of GPS negatively impacts spatial memory during self-guided navigati

    This is just a random guess based on the "use it or lose it" concept. If we have spent a lifetime teaching/organizing our own spatial memory to help us remember directions to a particular destination... And then we abandon it to rely on an external GPS (all smart phones have one these days)... we gradually lose the ability we acquired to remember landmarks and directions.
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