New light shed on how the brain operates like GPS

Every time you walk out of a building, you immediately see where you're at and then step toward a destination. Whether you turn left, right or go straight ahead, you don't even think about it. Simple, right?

Not exactly. The brain performs a complex calculation that works a lot like the Global Positioning System.

Florida State University's Aaron Wilber, assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience, has discovered new insights into how the brain is organized to help a person navigate through life. His findings are published in the September issue of the journal Neuron.

"We have not had a clear understanding of what happens when you step out of a subway tunnel, take in your surroundings and have that moment where you instantly know where you are," Wilber said. "Now we're getting closer to understanding that."

Wilber wanted to get a clearer picture of how a person makes the transition from seeing a scene and then translating the image into a plan for navigation.

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