D: I know that burrito place was around here somewhere. Maybe if we turn left …
Y: I’ll give you one more block before I pull up a map on my phone.
D: I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time. Apparently, people from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Nordic countries are supposed to have the best spatial navigation abilities.
Y: You’re not giving me much proof here.
D: I know, I know. But this has real research behind it. Researchers collected data from people playing a mobile game called Sea Hero Quest, which tests spatial navigation abilities, and was specially designed to aid dementia research. They collected data from four million people, each of whom had provided their age, gender, and nationality, and were from countries with over five hundred players. Their analysis revealed that spatial navigation universally declines with age. But they also found that certain countries performed better than others. Higher GDP was correlated with better spatial navigation, and researchers speculate this may be due to better education opportunities, health, and ability to travel. They also speculated about more country-specific reasons for strong performances: Nordic countries share an interest in orienteering, a sport dependent on navigation, while countries like the U.S. and Australia have high rates of driving, which may improve navigation ability. They also saw that men performed better than women, but the gender gap narrowed in wealthier countries that had greater gender equality.Y: And what performs even better than either of us is this GPS. Come on, it’s telling us to backtrack a few blocks.