How a London cabbie’s brain grows

How a London cabbie’s brain grows – London cabbies famously navigate one of the most complex cities in the world.

In 1999, neurologist Eleanor Maguire conducted MRI scans on their brains and compared them with the brain scans of others.

In contrast with non-cabbies, experienced taxi drivers had a greatly enlarged posterior hippocampus – that part of the brain that specialises in recalling spatial representations.

What’s more, the size of cabbies’ hippocampi correlated directly with each driver’s experience: the longer the driving career, the larger the posterior hippocampus.

That showed that spatial tasks were actively changing cabbies’ brains. This was perfectly consistent with studies of violinists, Braille readers, meditation practitioners, and recovering stroke victims.

Our brains adapt in response to the demands we put on them. ( )


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