Jennifer Cockrall-King | development topographical disorientation
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I can’t seem to navigate from point A to point B. Is it all in my head? Neuroscience weighs in. As the stands of trembling aspen burst into green leafy life behind the cottage, I head off on my daily walk. Walking in the woods is good for my mind, body, and soul. It’s meditation in motion, and I prefer to go alone, with nothing but the crunch or squish underfoot breaking the silence. Before I go, however, I stuff a granola bar in my pocket and shout my best guess at a return time into the cabin. Because, although I’ve been exploring the trails at the lake for four decades, I don’t take for granted that I will find my way back. It’s not merely that I have a poor sense of direction; I am completely without an inner compass or mental GPS. Every- where I go, I rely on having memorized the route, or I’m staring constantly at my smartphone. And when markers along the way change, or when memory or battery life fails, I’m lost. But I’ve recently learned that this might not be my fault, but rather how my brain functions. Or, as Giuseppe Iaria, a University of Calgary cognitive...