Sunday, November 23, 2008

Lost in space...

I navigate like a girl.  Really - women tend to use "landmark" directions, and men often favor directional (NSEW) instructions.  Which is better?
According to Alycia Hund and colleagues at Illinois State University, there are two ways to give directions. One is using a so-called "route perspective", as in the example above. This adopts a first-person spatial perspective and is characterised by references to turns and landmarks. The other is a so-called "survey perspective", which gives directions as if looking down upon a map. This type of direction giving is characterised by references to cardinal directions (North, South, East and West) and precise distances.

When Hund's team used a fictitious model town made of plywood to test the ability of undergraduates to follow directions, they uncovered a curious anomaly. The students reported finding route perspective directions easier to follow and yet they steered a toy car to a destination more quickly and effectively when they were following cardinal directions. [More]

But as soon as we all have our GPS chips implanted it won't matter, I guess.


Ol James said... folk down here tend to use landmarks, like the second corner post, the Twin Oak, The Big Chicken,( an invaluable reference point in Atlanta).
Women folk tend to use gossip..."you know that bleach blonde hussey who took Kate's second husband, her house. Turn left there."
It's looking more like the dumbing down effect is coming into play. Inability to read a map, phonebook or ask directions.
Now GPS is great, but we are losing the ability to navigate. Wonder how many WASP could find their morning latte without Tom-Tom ??

Anonymous said...

The more funny thing here is the number of people who are getting lost with GPS. Not turned around, but LOST. Map and compass are out and GPS will save us. I was in Colorado and the park ranger there told us about all the people who were being rescued because of getting lost with their GPS. They were charging rescue fees to cover their cost of finding them.

Then again nothing is funnier than riding in a car with GPS guidance and it telling you to turn the wrong way down a one way street or were no street exist.

Glad I always know where I am "directly over the center of the earth"!!!!