Researchers Discover Pokemon Takes Up Own Region of the Brain
Ron Perillo / 2 years ago
Pokemon “Experts” Have Different Brains
Researchers from Stanford University have discovered that Pokemon fans have developed a unique cluster of brain cells. This is only the size of a pea, located behind the ear, but it is specifically for recognizing the hundreds of available Pokemon characters.
Perhaps a timely research to announce publicly considering Detective Pikachu is about to hit theaters. But the research reveals that this is brain neuron cluster is unique to those who have played Pokemon as children. In fact, they have found this to be true despite differences in cultural, ethnic and age backgrounds of the participants.
How Was the Study Conducted?
“This is quite remarkable, and it’s still an open mystery in neuroscience why these regions appear exactly where they do in the brain,” said co-author Jesse Gomez. He is a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley, who conducted the experiments while a grad student at Stanford University.
That is actually what researchers are trying to find out. A large number of children in the late 90’s play Pokemon as a shared experience. So the research has a repeatable group with exposure to the same visual stimuli to test out the theory.
Gomez recruited 11 Pokémon experts for his experiment (mean age 29.5 years), along with 11 Pokémon novices who had never played the game. Under functional MRI, the subjects were shown images of faces, animals, cartoons, bodies, words, cars, corridors, and of course, Pokemon.
The Pokémon experts responded more strongly to images of the Pokemon characters than the novice control group. There is definitely a new region of the brain that formed across the expert subjects, dedicated to recognizing Pokémon characters. Thus confirming the researcher’s hypothesis.
These findings suggest that humans are capable of developing more specialized brain regions for recognizing objects than we previously thought. The brain is not our likely limitation according to Gomez. Instead, it is “by how much we can experience in childhood.”