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Research Claims GPS Use Can Cause Memory Problems

Article by: Darren Griffin
Date: 25 Nov 2010

pocketgpsworld.comGPS users have an increased risk of memory loss and spatial orientation problems claims new report.

Researchers conducted a number of studies and the findings suggest that a reliance on GPS for navigation can lead to damage to a region of the brain responsible for memory and spatial orientation.

The actual research is complex and the results may in fact show that the cause is a lack of exercise of the region responsible for spatial awareness rather than the direct fault of GPS.

Whilst it can be invaluable in helping us find our way, it does mean we have less awareness of our surroundings and the routes we have taken.

The researchers advise not placing too much reliance on the tech and that we should take the time to assess our surroundings and update our built-in spatial 'map' to prevent problems.

Posted by Guivre46 on Thu Nov 25, 2010 9:35 am Reply with quote

Well if I used it to guide me around the house, or to take me to the pub, or up to my local shops, or didn't force it to reroute when I choose routes I know will be better than the one it offers, I might give some thought to the research. As it is, they should find something better to do.

Mike R [aka Wyvern46]
Go 530T - unsupported
Go550 Live [not renewed]
Kia In-dash Tomtom

Posted by Jellyroll on Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:29 am Reply with quote

Well, I've just spent the last hour trying to find this research, to no avail. Do you remember where you came across it? Laughing

Posted by Survey_Poster on Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:38 am Reply with quote

There is some info here regarding their 'research':


Posted by Darren on Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:42 am Reply with quote

Sorry, the original item is here.

Darren Griffin - Editor

Posted by BigPerk on Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:21 am Reply with quote

As it is, they should find something better to do.
Given that it is a serious bit of research led by a senior 'neuro-specialist' (which looking at the McGill site it certainly seems to be) I think they ARE probably justified in looking into this, given the increasing inpact of Alzheimer's disease - it's at least WORTH a look. They do make the point that they are not sure yet whether GPS causes the deteriotration, or if possibly-already susceptible people tend to be more reliant on GPS.

There is always a risk of scare stories continually being brought up by the media against the trend of 'concensus' research results (eg in some peoples' view, autism and the triple vac), but don't "throw the baby out" too quickly.

But the advice is surely simple enough (eg "use GPS for new destination, but try without it on the way back home"), and I for one, notice how I can easily miss road signs, speed limit signs, etc when following the GPS's direcctions - and the brain surely needs exercise as much as any other part. (Maybe I'm beciming proof of their conclusions ... now what were they? Embarassed Shocked )

(Navigon 70 Live, Nuvi 360)

Posted by Darren on Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:44 am Reply with quote

Good points. I've always loved maps part of the reason I fell into PGPS after all and so spacial awareness and a good sense of direction etc have always been strong suits.

But I do notice than, when in unfamiliar areas, iI find it is very easy to lose sight of where you are in the larger 'map'. And when I'm driving long distances I often fail to digest information that is available such as road signs, county boundary signs etc in the same way that I used to.

I see it much like any skill, use it or lose it and that is what I suspect has been identified here.

I still like to refer to good 'ol paper maps to orientate myself, something that you can't do as effectively with a satnav.

Darren Griffin - Editor

Posted by Andy_P on Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:57 am Reply with quote

I'm in big trouble then.....

I'm the sort of person who still turns up the wrong side turning and wonders where my house has gone (I'm not exaggerating here).

I flounder when I try to tell a taxi driver where I live.

I have a satnav running even on journeys I know well, and I'm kidding myself if I think it's ONLY because I'm "testing them".

My only hope is that I too love paper maps.
So I think I need to leave the satnav at home once in a while and cope with the panic and sweats from going cold turkey!

"Settling in nicely" ;-)

Posted by Guivre46 on Thu Nov 25, 2010 2:48 pm Reply with quote

I gave up on this sort of twaddle when I read a research extract that said prisoners reacted sooner to people coming up behind them, than average/normal people did. Surprise!

Mike R [aka Wyvern46]
Go 530T - unsupported
Go550 Live [not renewed]
Kia In-dash Tomtom

Posted by DennisN on Thu Nov 25, 2010 7:47 pm Reply with quote

I have three satnavs on the go - and another three are sitting at home waiting for a turn.

I still tend to drive in a similar way to paper map days, when I used to "memorise" 200 miles up the M5/M6/M74, then round the ring road to the right, etc and print off a page of Autoroute close detail for the last couple of streets. The satnavs nowadays confirm the 200 miles (or suggest alternative 200) and then take over for the last few streets. That means I'm not taking my attention away from the road onto the paper map on the passenger seat - and don't tell me not to look at paper maps on the seat - you don't have much choice on a Red Route! Before becoming a whitevanman, I had about as good a sense of direction as I was handsome. I'm much better at it now, although I confess it deserts me when I'm faced with no entry and no right turn etc, etc.

I'm with this guy

Guivre46 Wrote:
they should find something better to do.


If it tastes good - it's fattening.

Two of them are obesiting!!

Posted by Guivre46 on Thu Nov 25, 2010 10:32 pm Reply with quote

Coincidentally, this afternoon I read two papers. One said that use of the internet was reducing our ability to concentrate and conceptualise, the other said that internet use for older people was activating and refreshing parts of the brain that otherwise deteriorated with age.

Mike R [aka Wyvern46]
Go 530T - unsupported
Go550 Live [not renewed]
Kia In-dash Tomtom

Posted by newtomoneowner on Thu Nov 25, 2010 11:08 pm Reply with quote

i can see where the research points, in the days before i started using a satnav i used the A-Z road maps but frequently had to pull over and check where i was, that said i could (once i had been to a place) remember where it was and didnt need the map to find it, with the exception of Bolton town centre which is a joke when your trying to get from one side to the other.

Just recently i had a 930 screen fail on me and went for a month without a satnav and had to revert to a paper based maps and navigating with them was absolute murder, my brain just couldnt work it out, such is the reliance on technology i suppose.

i dont use my satnav for all my journeys as i mainly know where i am heading but i have it on to warn me about speed cameras and i only use it to head home if im not sure where i am, otherwise its just on for the cameras.

Call Me N3wt for short.....
Gone back to XP after trying Windows 7, it was nice but i still prefer XP

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