Rats, Exploration and the Benefits of Travel

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  08.27.10 | 2:48 PM ET

This passage in a New York Times story about the downsides of frequent exposure to information and entertainment on mobile devices caught my eye:

At the University of California, San Francisco, scientists have found that when rats have a new experience, like exploring an unfamiliar area, their brains show new patterns of activity. But only when the rats take a break from their exploration do they process those patterns in a way that seems to create a persistent memory of the experience.

The researchers suspect that the findings also apply to how humans learn.

Sounds to me like the perfect day of travel away from the rat race: exploring an unfamiliar place, followed by some good downtime in the evening.

As if you needed another reason to travel, right?

2 Comments for Rats, Exploration and the Benefits of Travel

Mike Goldstein 08.27.10 | 4:16 PM ET

Interesting. My girlfriend and I work seasonally, so we travel for a few months every winter. I find that the time we spend at home helps us process the time we spend abroad, so the stories tend to mature (or ripen, or something) over the year.

Hotel Santa Monica 08.31.10 | 4:22 PM ET

Seriously, that would be absolutely perfect!

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