We Will Just Walk in Circles When We Are Lost

Posted by on December 1st, 2010

Researchers from the Multisensory Perception and Action Group at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany have provided evidence that if you ever become lost in the desert you are more than likely going to cross your own path. Using GPS tracking, the scientists dropped people off in the Sahara and forests in Germany and monitored their movements. As long as the subjects had visible cues as to their direction from the sun or the moon, they managed to walk a relatively straight line. However, as soon as they had no indicators, they immediately started walking in circles.

“The results from these experiments show that even though people may be convinced that they are walking in a straight line, their perception is not always reliable. Additional, more cognitive, strategies are necessary to really walk in a straight line. People need to use reliable cues for walking direction in their environment, for example a tower or mountain in the distance, or the position of the sun.”

[Max Planck Campus Tübingen via Gizmodo]

One Response to “We Will Just Walk in Circles When We Are Lost”

  1. EbonNebula Says:

    old cowboy trick: pick a recognizable object(tree/rock/etc) not too far away(about 100 yards) and walk towards it. Just before you reach that point, pick a new object in the distance that forms a direct line of sight with your first one. Walk towards that one one and repeat as necessary.