Background: A study published last summer in the journal Neuron found that when participants were tasked with finding a new home and job by interacting with characters in a virtual roleplaying game, activation in the hippocampus revealed tracking of social relationships through two dimensional vectors based on power and affiliation. In essence, they navigated through social space just as they would a physical environment: by using a cognitive map. Original article:
Tavares, R. M., Mendelsohn, A., Grossman, Y., Williams, C. H., Shapiro, M., Trope, Y., & Schiller, D. (2015). A map for social navigation in the human brain. Neuron 87: 231-243. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2015.06.011.
Question: What are some hypotheses as to why this relationship exists?
Side note: If anyone is interested in participating, I am completing a research study to investigate the relationship between social and spatial skills. Here's the link for that: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/2620527/Social-and-Spatial-Skills-Assessment