How GPS Eats Our Brains

Sometimes great links sit in my to-do list for far too long. This is one of the best: I should have posted it a year and a half ago. Their site isn’t responding right now, but when it gets back online you must go and read “Global Impositioning Systems,” Alex Hutchinson’s article in the November 2009 issue of The Walrus. (Or find a cached version if you can.) It’s about how regular GPS use may be making our brains’ ability to navigate atrophy, and brings to my attention a disorder I hadn’t heard of before: “developmental topographical disorientation” — an inability to form cognitive maps. (If you know anyone who cannot deviate from their normal commuting route without breaking out in a cold sweat, you’ve probably seen this in action.) A must-read, and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about it sooner.