"This raises a troubling question. If our human navigational efforts shape our hippocampus, what happens when we stop using it for this purpose - when we lean too hard on technology such as GPS, which makes navigation a brain-free endeavor?......Indeed, when researchers at McGill University scanned the brain of older adults who used GPS and those who didn't, they found that the people accustomed to navigating on their own had more gray matter in the hippocampus and showed less overall cognitive impairment than those who relied on GPS. As we lose the habit of forming cognitive maps, we may be losing gray matter (and along with it, if Tolman is right, our capacity for social understanding).
from the book 'The Genius of Birds' by Jennifer Ackerman
From everything we know about risk factors for Alzheimer's, orienteering is just about the best thing you can do as you can age. Exercise and finding your way around new places regularly are pretty much top of the ladder when it comes to decreasing risk.
An excellent share. I've posted it to our club's Facebook page.
Thanks. Its part of a chapter about how birds navigate, piecing together wind current directions and intensities, geo-magnetic perception, star and sun position and so forth to create a mental map of global proportions. What an amazing experience it would be to experience that firsthand.
I´ve read several similar accounts in my (previous) work with GPS and maps.
Not being at that computer now I just did a quick search and found another article
saying the same thing.
PS. A little along the same lines of thought it´s also debated whether the extensive use of Google
makes us smarter or dumber... I used to have group discussions with my students discussing the pros and cons of todays technology.
Along with orienteering, I do Scottish country dancing. It's a form of folk dance with complicated figures and vigorous footwork. A study by the University of Cumbria
looked at its possible benefits for aging. Learning and executing the dance figures may exercise some of the same parts of the brain as orienteering.
Here's a group I'm in, performing at the Highland Games.
Is that the same as, or similar to, Morris dancing?
This could apply to any number of things related to technology. I used to have a boss - an accountant - who'd immediately reach for his calculator no matter what calculation you gave him, even if it was to multiply something by 10. Over reliance of technology becomes ingrained and people cannot figure out how to do things for themselves anymore.