joh09320: February 2012 Archives

A concept from biological psychology that I found particularly interesting was the case of London taxi-drivers and the size of their hippocampi versus non taxi-drivers. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that plays a role in consolidation of information from short-term memory to long-term memory, spatial memory and spatial navigation. When you have a mental map of the area you live, you have your hippocampus to thank. I found it fascinating how scientists could measure the size of taxi-drivers hippocampi in comparison to non taxi-drivers and that there was a significant difference in size. Even though it is unknown whether the hippocampus grows in result of memorizing streets and other duties taxi drivers take on, or if people with large hippocampi just seem to be drawn to this career.

This study particularly interested me because I know someone who had brain damage and I didn't know a lot about the location of the damage to his brain. However, I know one of his major struggles is remembering simple locations and putting together a simple route from A to B, even if it was just around his block. From learning more about the brain and what certain parts do, I am starting to assume some of his brain damage must have occurred in his hippocampus. Although I cannot be sure, it seems to me that it is a reasonable guess.

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