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You have reached your destination

The Route was idiots down for sure, actually: the 101, the Highway along the American West coast. In other words: so that the sea is always to the right of the road. The should be, even for two people, the lose always and everywhere the orientation. The Highway actually turned out to be quite easy. Only to find Him at all, it took an unexpectedly long time. During two days, the two holidays were wrong inside of Portland in the heart of Oregon through the Hinterland of this undoubtedly beautiful state. According to the route planner, the distance fraud to the sea about 130 kilometers. It were more. And Yes, there is a Navi in the car, and intervened regularly.

but Why is the leave needed two days for a good 100 miles? Who's asking, has understood nothing. Nothing of the anger on the GPS, the road signs, the ocean and Oregon, and none of the frustration that any Stray knows just as well as the voice of his sat NAV. But above all, nothing of the complexity that is demanded of the brain, if it is to find the right way.

Does the sense of direction easily, he quickly forgotten. He claimed no part of the body that serves exclusively to him as the nose of the Smell, or the ear Hear. Our sense of orientation is a puppet master in the Background, in the best case, at each step, present and yet mostly unnoticed. As a shrewd tactician, he decides in Secret routes and shortcuts, without that we come to him in the everyday hustle and bustle on the track.

A body's own Navi

However, scientists are now looking more and more behind his camouflage mask. How far you have come already, showed up four years ago, when John O'keefe and May-Britt Moser and her husband Edvard were awarded the Nobel prize in medicine for the discovery of different brain cells, which allow orientation in space. This so-called Place cells in the Hippocampus. This brain structure for Learning and remembering important.

Every once visited location corresponds to a specific activation pattern of the cells in question. So the brain builds an internal map. In addition, grid cells for the body's own Navi, for the distances and relationships between each of the locations on the mental map of responsible. Add to that many other cell types in the brain such as, for example, the Speed of neurons, which serve as a speedometer.

As if this were not already complicated enough, is to rely on the sense of orientation in addition to the aid of other senses. Without a sense of balance, it is difficult to determine the own Position in space, and how important it is to See, according to researchers from the tübingen-based Max-Planck-Institute for Cybernetics, shown in a single attempt. After they had connected their study, participants in the eyes, could the subjects not more than 20 meters straight ahead. The latest arc on a circular path. Anyone who can't see, and still marched off, not more than 100 meters from its starting point. To run blindfolded straight, creates a human being.

Why is the leave needed two days for a good 100 miles? Who's asking, has understood nothing.

The sense of orientation makes big differences in how much he cares for each Individual. Some people don't know even in foreign cities, which is the output of the U-Bahn Station, you will be transported to the right place to the light of day, others find your way from the bathroom back into the living room, if you are invited somewhere. "The sense of orientation, there are very large individual differences," confirms MPI-researcher Marianne Strickrodt.

How careful one should be in order to explain the different orientation abilities of individual people or groups, shows a recently published study, more than half a Million participants from 57 countries. They all tested their orientation skills in a games-App. It is open to unexpected connections, which point to a strong influence of socio-economic factors on the navigation skills were revealed.

For example, they correlate with the economic prosperity of an area. Players from economically well-established regions such as Western and Northern Europe, cut off in the App better than participants from India, Egypt, and Iraq. May people travel in wealthy countries and thus promote their Navigational skills more, speculate the authors.

flexibility is the key

Still, a question remains, given the large individual differences: What are those different, find a minute to make? As subjects should in a study during the pathfinding of your Considerations, according to the Express, showed that people find easily their way, in a more flexible switch between different methods of orientation back and forth.

simply put, there are two strategies to choose: to put yourself mentally in the bird's-eye view and to gain an Overview, or to remember the Route, such as a vocabulary list to memorize: "At the first intersection, go straight, at the Church on the left until the traffic lights, then three times, turn right." With the method it gets you there faster, depends strongly on the respective Situation. The so-called route knowledge requires the brain less, and can often be faster to learn, especially for people with a bad sense of orientation. You have learned, where you in what direction to turn, be able to handle it well – as long as it is not in a country of the sea, or in a familiar environment, suddenly, a road blocked. After all, who saves cognitive resources, has to pay the price of lack of flexibility.

perverse fears

About the flexibility of those people, which should be based on the basis of the bird's-eye view. They are governed by immutable characteristics, such as the direction and the position of the sun, a distinctive mountain summit, or the coast line. Apparently, the brain stores the Knowledge of such wider contexts separately from the ability to create a step-by-step directions on how to get.

In the ideal case is complemented both. But what is ideal in the Moment, we know neither where it is nor in what direction you want to? Can help then only one thing: the unwavering voice from the Navi. However, in the facilitation of technical assistance a seed of doubt into the mix. The devices are perhaps more of a curse than a blessing?

Many voices warn of the potentially devastating effects of constant GPS use. It is reportedly threatening to not less than the total loss of the bird's-eye view. Total helplessness, when the battery fails or a Tunnel interferes with the data reception. Cars with the hood in the river or wedged between the dense trees in the middle of the forest, because the driver will have their devices blind trust. On the other hand, anyone Who has spent hours, if not days, of his life in wanderings and detours, you know, thinking even in the face of this Horror that he actually has a lot to lose.

references, help on the way

Stefan Münzer knows as an educational psychologist at the University of Mannheim is well with the relationship between humans and the Navi and not the apocalyptic core of the Carefree unrestricted: "We have no hard evidence, that people used to navigate with maps, unlearn the Navi is really something."

For critical he was of the Situation, however, in the case of younger people who were born in the GPS-age and never other AIDS to orientation have used. You the necessary Dose of skepticism may be missing compared to the insistent voice, prompting a sometimes then to continue the journey, if you are already in the middle of the corn field. When we let the Navi guide, developed best route know.

An Overview from the bird's perspective, the devices do not convey, as several studies have shown. You should receive directions from another person, a building of the most even striking points such as the train station or the city centre in his explanation, even if you play for the actual way not matter. However, such references to situate themselves in the environment.

New Generation of Navis

in order To well cope recommends that researchers Stefan Münzer, a two-stage procedure: in front of the travel by using a map – whether in the form of paper or Online route planner to give an Overview of where you are going and what are the distinctive points can serve as a guide. Follow the road to the Navi, you can compare its specifications with the memory of the overview map.

With a new Generation of Navis could be this cumbersome travel planning superfluous. At least the psychologist Münzer hopes. Together with colleagues from the University of Münster he is working on a device to communicate in addition to the directions, overview of knowledge – similar to how a person explains to another the way. "But this is not so simple Algorithms to implement," says Münzer.

As if ever something simple would have been the subject of orientation.

(editing Tamedia)

Created: 18.12.2018, 19:40 PM

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