Young Adults With Better Navigation Skills Do Not Have Larger Hippocampi, Raising Questions About The Meaning Of The Famous Taxi Driver Studies


The famous studies of London’s taxi drivers – showing they have larger hippocampi (the comma-shaped brain structure in the temporal lobes) than controls – have become a staple of undergrad psychology courses and a classic example of how your brain changes according to what you do with it. Other studies have also implied an association between hippocampal size and navigational ability – for instance, people with Alzheimer’s, who have lost neurons in this brain structure, tend to experience problems finding their way around. For some time, then, an obvious, though tentative, inference has been that better navigators have bigger hippcampi. However, a new study, released as a preprint at bioRxiv, raises questions about how far we can safely generalise from the taxi driver and Alzheimer’s-based research. Continue reading →

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