Of course I am oversimplifying. When I tell you “sense of direction,” I mean what French neuroscientist Alain Berthoz terms egocentric memory which, he writes, is the “vestibular memory of self-motion.” To use Berthoz’s own example, this means intuitively remembering what it feels like to make one full turn in the dark —a movement-memory stored in the inner ear to call up later and translate, by complicated synaptic algorithms, into a pirouette. Negotiating space using landmarks is, conversely, allocentric memory. Most people, in navigating from A to B, are able to combine those cognitive skills.
All the Spaces Between Us: Struggling to Connect in a Pixilated World