Sunday, June 17, 2007

The Brains of Birds and Taxi Drivers

In his treatment of spacial memory, Kandel moves into a fascinating discusson of how space is represented in the hippocampus of the brain. "The spatial memory of environments has a prominent internal representation in the hippocampus. This is evident even anatomically. Birds in which spatial memory is particularly important-- those that store food at a large number of sites, for example-- have a larger hippocampus than other birds.... London taxi drivers are another case in point... Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed that after two years of [rigorous orientation] to the streets of the city, London taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus than other persons the same age." 306

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