Tuesday, April 16, 2013

#Brain Drawing for Foursquare Day!! Our Internal Navigation System

I couldn't help but feature our internal navigation system within our brain, the Hippocampus, on a compass for Foursquare Day. In honor of the app, I also changed the N or North placement on the compass to a Foursquare mayorship symbol, the crown.

Foursquare is useful in letting users know what's around them in terms of places of interest and what's trending. Of course it needs to know where we are to make an accurate list of places so our phone would need its GPS option turned on. Well our brains have an internal GPS as well, so to speak.


In the drawing, I have a transparent brain in the center of the compass. The brain is transparent so you can see where the Hippocampus resides. The compass has the usual navigation markers but I changed the North indicator to a Foursquare crown used for when someone gains mayorship of a location. The Hippocampus, in orange in the drawing is emitting signals and pointing towards the crown, or North.

Our Hippocampus is located in the Limbic System of our brain. The components of the Limbic System manage our emotions, memory and sexual arousal. For the purpose of this post, the focus is on our internal navigation system managed by our cool Hippocampus. The Hippocampus is the component in our brain most closely tied to long-term memory formation.

Did you know that there are cells within and around our Hippocampus that map out our place, head direction and grid
  • When we learn of specific places, destinations or landmarks, our Place cells light up when we come across a place we recognize.
  • We have our own internal compass run by our Head Direction cells. It tells us what direction we're facing. So, if you ever have a feeling that you're heading in the right or wrong direction, you may have your Head Direction cells to thank.
  • How about when you're on the move either walking, running, biking or driving? Ever think about the distance you may have traveled? Our Grid cells help us to gauge that.

It's awesome how we have systems built within us that help us to get around. So, where will you be heading to today?

Michelle Hunter

Contemporary Artist
Tel: (646) 504-5034
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1. Wellcome Trust (2008, September 15). The 'Satellite Navigation' In Our Brains. http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/News/Media-office/Press-releases/2008/WTX050443.htm

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