Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Changes in Hippocampi of Taxi Drivers

Maguire et al. (April 11, 2000). Navigation-related structural change in the hippocampi of taxi drivers. PNAS, Vol. 97, No. 8, 4398-4403.

This correlational study showed taxi drivers had a significantly greater volume in the posterior hippocampus, whereas control subjects showed greater volume in the anterior hippocampus. Authors interpret the results as evidence for the relative redistribution of gray matter in the hippocampus in response to the occupational need to store increasingly detailed spatial representations. The amount of time spent as a taxi driver was found to be correlated with the amount of volume in the right posterior hippocampus, suggesting that while mental spatial maps are likely to be stored in the posterior hippocampus and necessitate progressive structural changes over time, the left hippocampus may participate in spatial navigation and memory differently from the right.

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