Every day, whether it’s remembering where you parked the car, or just trying to find the light switch in the morning, there’s a hidden system that’s busy keeping track of everything going on around you. It’s called spatial awareness and it’s built into to your brain.
So while body awareness is your brain’s ability to keep track of your arms, legs, fingers, and toes on an internal map, your brain is also hard at work tracking your entire body’s location within a given environment.
To demonstrate how this works, let’s play a game. You know where all of your fingers are, right?
Raise both of your arms over your head and point at the ceiling with your right index finger (just like in the image above). Bend your left arm and spread your fingers as far apart as you can. Now, use your right index finger to tap each finger on your left hand one at a time, reaching for the ceiling in between each attempt.
Easy, right? Now close your eyes and try again!
Most people miss a few taps with their eyes closed. But why is that so much harder? It all has to do with what some say is our sixth sense.
Scientists call it proprioception. It’s your brain’s automatic system for sensing the position of your body in space. And proprioception is greatly enhanced when visual information is available. Without visual cues, your brain has a tougher time keeping track of your body.
Want more? Tonight on Brain Games, through a series of games and experiments, we’ll test the boundaries of your brain’s hardwired sense of direction to prove you aren’t always aware of your surroundings, or even your body. Plus, you’ll learn a surprising technique to enhance your spatial memory.