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Global Determinants of Navigation Ability

Coutrot, A; Silva, R; Manley, E; de Cothi, W; Sami, S; Bohbot, VD; Wiener, JM; ... Spiers, HJ; + view all (2018) Global Determinants of Navigation Ability. Current Biology , 28 (17) 2861-2866.e4. 10.1016/j.cub.2018.06.009. Green open access

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Abstract

Human spatial ability is modulated by a number of factors, including age [1-3] and gender [4, 5]. Although a few studies showed that culture influences cognitive strategies [6-13], the interaction between these factors has never been globally assessed as this requires testing millions of people of all ages across many different countries in the world. Since countries vary in their geographical and cultural properties, we predicted that these variations give rise to an organized spatial distribution of cognition at a planetary-wide scale. To test this hypothesis, we developed a mobile-app-based cognitive task, measuring non-verbal spatial navigation ability in more than 2.5 million people and sampling populations in every nation state. We focused on spatial navigation due to its universal requirement across cultures. Using a clustering approach, we find that navigation ability is clustered into five distinct, yet geographically related, groups of countries. Specifically, the economic wealth of a nation was predictive of the average navigation ability of its inhabitants, and gender inequality was predictive of the size of performance difference between males and females. Thus, cognitive abilities, at least for spatial navigation, are clustered according to economic wealth and gender inequalities globally, which has significant implications for cross-cultural studies and multi-center clinical trials using cognitive testing.

Type: Article
Title: Global Determinants of Navigation Ability
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.06.009
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.06.009
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: aging, cross-country analysis, crowdsourcing, gender differences, spatial cognition
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Cell and Developmental Biology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Statistical Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10056169
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