MAY 01, 2017 7:34 AM PDT

What Using GPS Means for Your Brain

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard


Do you have a helper sit in the passenger seat of your car and read a traditional map to find your way from point A to point B, or do you rely on a GPS navigation system to guide you to your destination?

New studies have shown that relying on a map uses more brain activity than listening to a GPS does, and when using GPS, the brain goes into much more of an 'autopilot' mode.

While using maps, the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex are far more active than they are when using GPS. In fact, these two important regions of the brain went totally inactive when the person only needed to listen to a GPS to find their way around.

This seems obvious however, as mapping your location on your own and then using landmarks and other hints to guide yourself from one place to another requires paying more attention to signs and your surroundings, yielding more brain activity, while GPS basically does everything for you and all you need to do is listen to it.

This would suggest that there's far less thinking and remembering going on when the GPS does all the work for you, and also hints some potentially concerning implications to our reliance on technology.

If GPS systems ever went evil like SkyNet, we might just find ourselves driving off of cliffs because the GPS said so...

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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