A new study found that expert hikers (those with 4 or more years of hiking experience) have an easier time identifying and recalling visual functional information about those hikes than their more greenhorn trail companions.

In an interesting study, both groups were shown various outdoor scenes from a trail, and told to imagine they were progressing on a hike. After being distracted with an unrelated activity, the subjects were shown the images again. While both groups had trouble remembering those beautiful, sweeping landscape shots we all take on the trail, the more seasoned hikers were better able to remember and organize images that gave actual information about a hike – a muddy trail crossing, slippery talus, etc.

This got me thinking — since I’ve started hiking, my memory — at least for trail-related activities — has vastly improved. I can pretty much narrate the entire route of the Mishe Mokwa Trail from heart, and I find I have a much easier time visualizing a map in my mind in 3-D, for instance, which I’d never really thought about before I read this study.

So what about you? Has hiking improved your memory, or do you still get lost on your favorite footpaths? And what kinds of images will draw you to a specific hike?

Via Cognitive Daily.

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