How good you are at video games could be related to the size of certain parts of your brain, researchers suggest. Beyond gaming, the research also suggests differences in learning rates.
In the latest issue of everyone’s favorite brain journal Cerebral Cortex, a new study from University of Illinois, the University of Pittsburgh and Massachusetts Institute of Technology had 39 adults (29 women, 10 men) play two versions of a specially developed game with different purposes. On version had them achieve a single goal, the BBC reports, while the other version was related to shifting priorities.
According to the MRI scans, those with larger nucleus accumbens, part of the brain’s “reward center”, did better in the first few hours. However, the players who ultimately did the best on the game with shifting priorities were those with larger sections on the caudate and putamen, which is the deep center of the brain.
The researchers’ findings point to the ability to predict the difference in performance by measuring volume of the brain. This doesn’t mean you are stuck with the piddly peanut brain you were born with!
“It has been shown that some parts of the brain are fairly plastic — they can change and develop,” says Prof Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois. “The more we learn about these structures and function the more we can understand the circuits that promote memory and learning. That can have educational benefits but also implications for an ageing population where dementia is an issue.”
It’s not how big your brain is, but how you use it, and all that jazz. Bigger doesn’t necessarily mean better. In the animal kingdom, not all creatures will large brains are intelligent. Humans, for example, have bigger brains than cows. And cows are dumb. Moo.