Aphantasia and navigation (dependence on GPS units and maps)

Holly asked 7 months ago


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I’m curious to know if there is any correlation between navigation skills and aphantasia. If one cannot visualize a map, then i would think successful navigation would have to rely on repetition (driving that route frequently) or the dependence on navigation aids. would those with aphantasia have more difficulty trying to construct new routes to get somewhere without the help of a navigation aid?

Eric Johnson February 18, 2020 04:04 am

Where I grew up and live, everything is laid out very nicely. Most roads and hiways go north and south or east and west. It makes the navigation real easy.

Rachel C February 18, 2020 07:40 pm

It’s a mixture of repitition and the need for a GPS or someone to give me directions. Even for places I know where to go, I need to stop and think about it for a few seconds to make sure I KNOW where I’m going. If someone were to ask me how to get to my grandmother’s house, I would probably not be able to give great directions, even though I know where to go from repitition. It’s somewhat embarrassing because I know my parents don’t need GPSes or directions to go places in our city, but I do. Granted I just recently got my full liscence and I haven’t driven that much around my city, but I still notice this.

phoebe kearns February 19, 2020 06:24 am

It’s definitely a mix of exposure/repition and outside help. I find I can easily navigate to places I’ve driven to before, even if only once, but the moment someone is describing how to get someplace via a different route I’m completely lost, even in my hometown. For me, I have to have a visual guide (such as a GPS) in order to drive to new places because it allows me to clearly see where I am going.

Colm Roe February 22, 2020 02:29 am

It’s memory as opposed to mind’s eye.

In my job I regularly have to visit new houses, I get the location map online and should be able to just go…’Yeah it’s at the end of that street’. But when I’m driving to the house I get lost; have to check the map again, find a MAIN road I know well, and do the memory thing…’take the fifth left turn, second right, then it’s one of the last houses on the right’.

I know I should be able to just picture the majority of the journey!

Main roads in a few miles’ radius from here are like muscle memory, the smaller roads off them slink into varying degrees of obscurity.

I don’t use Sat Nav in case I start to lose the little muscle memory I have.

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