By: Dean Burnett | How the media warp science: the case of the sensationalised satnav | Neuroscience | The Guardian
Reports of research that shows that satnavs “switch off” parts of the brain are a perfect example of how the media distorts science, often unintentionally
There’s a famous cliché which says “If you like sausage, you should never see one being made”. Well, earlier this week I saw how a science news story occurred, from experiment to media coverage, and I think the same applies here.
A UCL study titled “Hippocampal and prefrontal processing of network topology to simulate the future” was published in Nature Communications earlier this week. The human brain’s capacity for spatial navigation is fairly formidable, even if we’re not aware of it (riders of the beer taxi will appreciate this). But how does it do this? The study investigated this by presenting subjects undergoing fMRI with simulated versions of London streets and locations, and having them navigate their way around. Some subjects were guided, others were made to work out routes to their destinations. Corresponding brain activity was recorded.