A recent study shows that the brain takes just 100 milliseconds (a tenth of a second) to make sense of an area’s geometry—the basic shapes that allow and restrict our movement. This rapid understanding of layout takes place largely in the “occipital place area” near the back of the brain—and it’s what allows us to navigate through a place without bumping into the walls, trees, or other barriers.

Learn more here on Science Daily about how this works