Why Do We Get Lost?

Aug 20, 2016

We’ve all probably experienced that unsettling feeling of not knowing where you are —that moment when you make a wrong turn, go down an unfamiliar street and then you are officially lost. It turns out there are millions of specific cells in our brain that control how we navigate to a new place.

Dr. Sheri Mizumori, a professor of Psychology at the University of Washington, studies these cells that determine why we sometimes get lost. Mizumori says they’re all connected within your hippocampus, the part of your brain right behind your ears. Some cells attach meaning and memories to places while others organize information on a grid in your brain.

These networks of cells grow as you get older, strengthening your ability to navigate the world. However, Mizumori says it takes practice. Sound Effect's Jennifer Wing talks with Mizumori about how these cells work and why some people get lost more than others.