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      London taxi drivers and bus drivers: A structural MRI and neuropsychological analysis

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      Hippocampus

      Wiley

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          Abstract

          Licensed London taxi drivers show that humans have a remarkable capacity to acquire and use knowledge of a large complex city to navigate within it. Gray matter volume differences in the hippocampus relative to controls have been reported to accompany this expertise. While these gray matter differences could result from using and updating spatial representations, they might instead be influenced by factors such as self-motion, driving experience, and stress. We examined the contribution of these factors by comparing London taxi drivers with London bus drivers, who were matched for driving experience and levels of stress, but differed in that they follow a constrained set of routes. We found that compared with bus drivers, taxi drivers had greater gray matter volume in mid-posterior hippocampi and less volume in anterior hippocampi. Furthermore, years of navigation experience correlated with hippocampal gray matter volume only in taxi drivers, with right posterior gray matter volume increasing and anterior volume decreasing with more navigation experience. This suggests that spatial knowledge, and not stress, driving, or self-motion, is associated with the pattern of hippocampal gray matter volume in taxi drivers. We then tested for functional differences between the groups and found that the ability to acquire new visuo-spatial information was worse in taxi drivers than in bus drivers. We speculate that a complex spatial representation, which facilitates expert navigation and is associated with greater posterior hippocampal gray matter volume, might come at a cost to new spatial memories and gray matter volume in the anterior hippocampus. (c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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          Most cited references 55

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              Unified segmentation.

              A probabilistic framework is presented that enables image registration, tissue classification, and bias correction to be combined within the same generative model. A derivation of a log-likelihood objective function for the unified model is provided. The model is based on a mixture of Gaussians and is extended to incorporate a smooth intensity variation and nonlinear registration with tissue probability maps. A strategy for optimising the model parameters is described, along with the requisite partial derivatives of the objective function.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Hippocampus
                Hippocampus
                Wiley
                10509631
                10981063
                December 2006
                December 2006
                2006
                : 16
                : 12
                : 1091-1101
                Article
                10.1002/hipo.20233
                17024677
                © 2006

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1.1

                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/hipo.20233

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