Inability to find one’s way has neurological roots, study finds

USA Today reports:

[A] woman described in the journal Neuropsychologia has an especially severe, lifelong history of getting lost. She, like Roseman, can get to work along a long-practiced path — but sometimes gets lost walking home from her bus stop, say researcher Giuseppe Iaria and his colleagues at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver General Hospital. She goes nowhere else alone. At 43, she lives with her father, does not drive and “does not have a nice social life,” Iaria says.

In a series of tests, the researchers found that the woman has an inability to create mental maps of the environment. When shown a simple virtual neighborhood on a computer, she can eventually learn a route — but what takes typical people one to five minutes takes her more than half an hour.

The root of her difficulties, Iaria says, most likely lies in a part of the brain called the hippocampus…


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