How does working as a taxi driver and navigating change a person’s brain?

September 12, 2018

According to scientists, it is understood that working as a taxi driver and navigating changes a person’s brain through satellite navigation systems that are constantly found in taxi businesses these days. Scientists say that these navigation systems prevent the brains of taxi drivers from developing with their recent discovery being the discovery of more brain cells due to the knowledge that they store in their heads.

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A recent study done in London explains shows that scientists compared the brains of taxi drivers with those of other drivers to which they found out that they had more grey matter around the brain which is associated with memory. This part of the brain, they believe, known as the mid-posterior hippocampus is where most taxi drivers store a mental map of their roads including street names that are high of up to 25,000 names. The locations and tourist attractions are also some of the matter stored in their brains.

Research done by the scientists explain that the brains of adults have the capability of growing in response to a certain specialty. It has been identified that a children’s brain grows when they learn music, or a language and the increasing use of satellite navigation could change all that.

Doctors at the university college London say how the Global Positioning System (GPS) can have a big effect on a taxi drivers brain. They explain why using the system can help reduce the grey matter volume because of the huge amount of data they must memorize. Scientists reiterate that using GPS will reduce the knowledge base and cause some effects to some of the brain changes they are currently seeing.

Scientists have determined that the navigation system stimulates the brain development making most taxi drivers have a large than average memory centers in their brains which can cause one part of the brain to excel while the other parts reduce. A neuroscientist is believed to first get the idea by conducting a research on memory champions of the animal world. Most birds and mammals like squirrels, cache food and dig it up later, suggesting that they must memorize the locations of all their hiding spots.

Researchers identified a part of the brain known as the hippocampus was much larger in these animals than in similar species hide away most of their meals. The hippocampus is a section in the vertebrate brain which is crucial for long-term memory and spatial navigation. Scientists in their earlier studies noticed how London taxi drivers had a more gray matter in their posterior hippocampi than other citizens that were similar in education, age, and intelligence plus those who did not drive taxis which suggested to them that they had more memory centers than their peers.

A study was conducted on 79 taxi drivers as leading scientists wanted to measure the growth of their hippocampi with magnetic resonance imaging. The same was also conducted by a different scientist who measured brain growth in 31 people that neither drove taxis nor had any intelligence to working as a taxi driver but had similar age, education, and intelligence. The study suggests that all the participants had the same size hippocampi. Scientists performed similar tests and found out that the 31 non-taxi drivers had the same test results with the taxi drivers.

The same test was also conducted 4 years later to the same group of people the same battery of memory tests she had given them earlier, scientists found that drivers who earned their licenses performed far better than those who failed mind you are having performed the same four years earlier. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs) showed that the successful trainees’ hippocampi had grown over time. There has been confirmation of the idea that cognitive exercise produces physical changes in the brain it turns out that taxi drivers who underwent the training process caused the growth in the brain which explains why profound changes can be produced by the brain whenever a taxi driver undergoes training.