Explaining world-wide variation in navigation ability from millions of people: Citizen science project Sea Hero Quest

Spiers, Hugo J., Coutrot, Antoine and Hornberger, Michael ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2214-3788 (2023) Explaining world-wide variation in navigation ability from millions of people: Citizen science project Sea Hero Quest. Topics in Cognitive Science, 15 (1). pp. 120-138. ISSN 1756-8757

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Navigation ability varies widely across humans. Prior studies have reported that being younger and a male has an advantage for navigation ability. However, these studies have generally involved small numbers of participants from a handful of western countries. Here, we review findings from our project Sea Hero Quest, which used a video game for mobile and tablet devices to test 3.9 million people on their navigation ability, sampling across every nation-state and from 18 to 99 years of age. Results revealed that the task has good ecological validity and across all countries sufficiently sampled (N = 63), age is linked to a near-linear decline in navigation ability from the early 20s. All countries showed a male advantage, but this varied considerably and could be partly predicted by gender inequality. We found that those who reported growing up in a city were on average worse at navigating than those who grew up outside cities and that navigation performance helped identify those at greater genetic risk of Alzheimer's disease. We discuss the advantages and challenges of using a mobile app to study cognition and the future avenues for understanding individual differences in navigation ability arising from this research.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: We are grateful to various collaborators for their input on the project: Ed Manley, Jan Wiener, Ruth Conroy Dalton, Christoph Hölscher, Véronique Bohbot, Ricardo Silva, Gillian Coughlan, Zita Patai, Will de Cothi, Hippolyte Dubois. We thank Lara Gregorians for her comments on the draft. We thank Deutsche Telekom for supporting and funding this research, Glitchers Ltd. for game production, Saatchi and Saatchi London for project management and creative input, Alzheimer's Research UK (ARUK) for funding the analysis (ARUK‐DT2016‐1), and Tim Parry at ARUK for supporting us through all the challenges.
Uncontrolled Keywords: aging,culture,dementia,games,gender,spatial cognition,wayfinding,experimental and cognitive psychology,linguistics and language,human-computer interaction,cognitive neuroscience,artificial intelligence,sdg 5 - gender equality ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3205
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Norwich Institute for Healthy Aging
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Groups > Mental Health
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Research Centres > Lifespan Health
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2022 10:30
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2023 03:22
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/86715
DOI: 10.1111/tops.12590

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