Human Navigation some ideas October 2017
Humans, who are after all sophisticated animals have a very highly developed frontal cortex. This does our intellectual thinking. The right side is usually dominant. It also tends to be where humans view their world. Almost no humans feel and respond to the sub conscious.
We have the concept of conscious frontal cortex operation and the sub-conscious operation that for instance runs our bodies on automatic. The sub-conscious is the description of our ancient brain at the base of our brains sitting directly on top of the spine just like other animals. Our navigational compass consisting of the firing of head cells as we change direction is located in the hippocampus in the very heart of this part of the brain.
Please see Prof Kate Jeffery’s work on how navigation works in the brain which is posted under the “how animal navigate “section.
As our navigational systems exist within this ancient brain of the sub-conscious it explains why, often enough, you find that asking native (human) navigators how they do it does not work as they do not consciously know what they are doing.
Of course, another of our heroes Tristan Gooley talks about how to carry out conscious navigation (natural navigation) based on clues in the landscape, but this, for me, is the same as how children just learn their own language but adults need to learn languages another more formal way.
Jon Ward has explained that his natural navigation in Africa was based on a know range where he knew all the landmarks etc. He has suggested that natural navigation is probably impossible outside the adopted home range. I think that London taxi drivers would agree.