Sumary of Ever been lost in the grocery store? Researchers are closer to knowing why it happens:
- Researchers have long struggled to learn how the brain remembers spatial environments, especially those that are similar — such as two stores from the same supermarket chain — and how the brain avoids confusion, or doesn’t.
- A new study by University of Arizona psychologists suggests that the brain may treat similar environments as if they are even more different than a pair of environments that have nothing in common.
- ” “Until our study, we didn’t know how the brain might be able to differentiate those things,” said senior study author Arne Ekstrom, a professor of psychology in the College of Science who leads UArizona’s Human Spatial Cognition Laboratory.
- Li Zheng, a postdoctoral fellow in Ekstrom’s lab, led the study, which was published in the journal Nature Communications.
- The findings could eventually help scientists better understand why conditions such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease cause symptoms such as disorientation and poor spatial memory.
- “The implications here would be maybe this neural repulsion mechanism is something that could be impaired with aging,” Ekstrom said.
- “If you understand the mechanisms whereby healthy, young brains work, maybe you can better understand some of the things that go wrong with neural disease and aging.
- ” Three Virtual Cities, Nine Virtual Stores The study’s 27 participants watched an animated video from the perspective of someone walking around three virtual cities.