Wayfinding and Similarity (11-16-21)

Researchers have investigated why we get lost in places that are similar to other areas we’re familiar with.  Zheng lead a team that found that “the brain may treat similar environments as if they are even more different than a pair of environments that have nothing in common. The concept is known to brain scientists as ‘repulsion.’ . . .  Ekstrom points to a visit to a restaurant. There are many aspects about dining out that will always be the same – being seated, ordering food and waiting for the meal. But dinner with a romantic partner would come with key differences than, say, a dinner with a co-worker. ‘That's the challenge for the brain: A lot of stuff in our daily life is similar, so there's no reason to use our limited resources to relearn very similar experiences,’ Ekstrom said. ‘But at the same time, there are things in our everyday life that we have to treat as different in order to be able to learn.’” This study is published in Nature Communications.

“Ever Been Lost in the Grocery Store?  Researchers are Closer to Knowing Why It Happens.”  2021.  Press release, The University of Arizona, https://news.arizona.edu/story/ever-been-lost-grocery-store-researchers-...