Parked Cars: Lost and found

(WEAU) - In our Health Beat, have you ever forgotten where you parked your car?

A study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology shows that 59% women have a harder time retracing their steps to their car. While only 42% of men have trouble.

"I feel very embarrassed and it usually I find my car eventually," said Stephanie Franklin, Eau Claire.

Driving a car is a daily activity for most, which often leads to parking it somewhere, but sometimes it can turn into a game of hide and seek.

"Women tend to do better on verbal tasks, and men tend to do better spatially," said Dr. Jason Kanz, Neuropsychologist of Marshfield Clinic.

Dr. Kanz of Marshfield Clinic says, men and women use different parts of their brain when looking for their car.

"Women tend to activate the right front part of the brain, called the parietal lobe, kind of in the back area, of the brain, more often where men tend to use the left hippocampus which is one of the memory structures in the brain,” said Kanz.

The study surveyed 115 shoppers at a mall in the Netherlands. It shows that women used landmarks while men used a direct route to track their car down.

"If I'm down the appropriate row, I'll use my alarm on my remote, otherwise I try to look for landmarks, where I am in the direction of the building or a specific tree that I'm parked next to that will help me find it,” said Franklin.

I even followed one man in the parking lot, who walked past his car.

"I'm pretty sure this is the right parking lot, I don't come here that often, normally I park in my common places in the same aisle,” said man.

But eventually, he found it.

Even traveling around daily in the WEAU cars, reporters can get lost in parking lots. Therefore, writing it down in a cellphone can help avoid getting lost.

"The amount of time that you’re in a store would seem to contribute to how easy it is to find your car back, size of the parking lot would also contribute,” said Kanz.

"Definitely when there's snow on the ground, because everything looks the same and I can't remember, what row I'm parked down,” said Franklin.

"My wife for example, will say every blue van is ours, so if you have a very common cars, its much more likely to be confusing,” said Kanz.


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