I truly believe that it comes from the amount of time spent doing outdoor activities make Nordic people genetically better at spatial orientation. Although, I like the Viking ancestry theory. Perhaps geographic proximity to the North Pole is a factor?
They have found that people who use their gps instead of paper maps to get around develop much less navigation capabilities.
I.e. this is just like any other skill, physical or mental, it requires regular practice to become better.
Maybe it's because the Nordic countries do more orienteering per capita?
No. The part of the population with poor navigation skills simply gets eaten by bears or mosquitoes. Or freeze to death.
Or maybe the good navigators are better progenitors and so the poor navigators are 'bred' out of society.
Well, orienteering is actually a compulsory part of the curriculum in Swedish schools as is learning how to swim. That doesn´t necessarily mean that they develop competitive skills but hopefully some sense of mapreading and navigation.
Somebody really needs to tell the authors the real reason, the sport they have never heard of is taught in the schools. Could be why the 19 year olds are better than at 30.
Sure, but don't overlook the built-in bias in the testing procedure here:
After setting off in a boat and making several twists and turns through icebergs, the player has to aim a flare back to their starting point, which they can no longer see.
In my observation, folks in this area seem to flock to the ferries cruising through the icebergs in the Baltic Sea in large numbers, many seemingly just to patronize the on-board duty-free shops...
@bubo: Norway is just like Sweden here: Orienteering and Swimming are the two sports which are compulsory parts of the school curriculum.
We use this fact when arguing for (some/more) government support of school maps! :-)
Most schools in Norway are close to at least some kind of forest, for the remainder we try to make sprint maps that include the school yard and any playground equipment.
On the other hand, while the intent of the authors of the study was to study the effect of aging on navigational skills, it would seem to me to be clear that what they were actually studying was the effect of player age on being able to do well in a video game, and not even the evolution of that skill over many years. Of course, this is from my perspective of someone who was about 30 years old before anything that might be considered a primitive ancestor to a modern video game had appeared.
If they wanted to study something more akin to navigational skills, but taking out the physical component which is involved in orienteering, it would be interesting to examine the success rates of driving to a mildly familiar location over a route involving several turns at a distance of 50km from home WITHOUT GPS TURNED ON. I bet that comparing a population of 20 year olds and 60 year olds, to see what fraction of each population has ever paid any attention to the roads they traverse frequently, or that could even re-locate on a map without their current position marked on it, would yield a different sign for the trend of navigational skills with age.
@eldersmith, that same about the ability to play a video game occurred to me. It seems to me that the researchers are missing a few obvious (to some anyway) causes for the trends they are seeing. Navigational ability because they are descended from vikings? Seems unlikely to me.
As the video games played were water based it seems from looking at the results map that proximity to oceans and seas played a role in the results, too.
eldersmith, your experiment, even reducing the distance, wouldn't work between me (61) and my son (20) because my advantage in navigating in the real world would be overwhelming. My comment to him when he was learning to drive is that I thought the toughest thing for him when he got his license would be finding his way on the roads because of his complete lack of experience doing it. Even his limited public transit experience was almost exclusively in a subway underground. By the time I got my license, I had 10 years of experience navigating big city streets on my own on a bicycle, with half of that period including going well beyond my neighborhood. As it is, he got his license right before moving away from home and since then he's barely been somewhere where he would have access to a car (and the car he would usually be able to use doesn't have a GPS) and he doesn't cycle.
Has anybody actually played it?
Plus - has anybody used the Viking method of navigation (sunstones - crystals of calcite)?
Is there an IOF ruling on the use of sunstones? (or is it a Scandi secret?)
It mentioned something about downloading an "App" so that ended it for me.
*deep breath* NEEEEERRRRRRRRDDDDDD!!!!!!
This discussion thread is closed.