Tuesday, September 20, 2011

one of the things that are wrong with me.

I've been reading in this book about the hypothesized existence of a "reorientation module." Googling the phrase leads quickly to this article which suggests a genetic component to such a module. Now I get lost really easily, and so did my maternal grandmother. There is also a distinct pattern to the way get lost that seems to go beyond simple inattention to my surroundings.* One problem comes when I go into an area that is psychologically closed off from a larger area--for instance if I am walking along a row of shops, and then enter one of them, or if I am walking along a corridor and enter a room--upon returning to the larger space, I am completely disoriented and unable to identify the direction I was originally traveling.

I don't know if that quite relates to the skills tested in material I'm reading. They mostly look at tasks where people and animal have to find an object hidden in a rectangular room, where you have to remember that the object is in a corner that has the short wall on the right and the long wall on the left. Its interesting stuff. there is evidence of modularity for this kind of task: people who can do it are unable to explain how they did it, the skill is only sensitive to certain kinds of environmental input, etc.

*Although inattention to my surroundings is clearly a factor, too. A few months ago I became lost while traveling from my work to home because I was completely distracted by this Philosophy Bites podcast.


jo(e) said...

I get lost really easily -- just like my mother. I've always thought there might be a genetic component.

Molly said...

I wonder if you would have used the word "corridor" here if you had not been reading Harry Potter books for the past year.