Brains of London taxi drivers, again

Scientists have uncovered evidence for an inbuilt “sat-nav” system in the brains of London taxi drivers.

So writes the BBC in a recent report about the research of Hugo Spiers from University College London, who presented his results at this week’s BA Science Festival. Earlier studies had shown that taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus – a region of the brain that plays an important role in navigation. Dr Spiers was keen to go beyond brain structure ” …and see what activity is going on inside the brains of taxi drivers while they are doing their job,”

The BBC did not mention that this earlier study (by Eleanor Maguire, David Gadian, Ingrid Johnsrude, Catriona Good, John Ashburner, Richard Frackowiak, and Christopher Frith, also of University College London) won the 2003 Ig Nobel medicine prize ‘for presenting evidence that the brains of London taxi drivers are more highly developed than those of their fellow citizens.’

Hugo Spiers and Eleanor Maguire apparently collaborate on this subject.

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