Video Games

Science Says You *Could* Have a Part of Your Brain Dedicated to Recognizing Pokemon. Could???

IGNResearchers at Stanford University have discovered that people who played Pokemon as children in the 90s might share a small region of their brain where all of that information is held, according to a new study.

When shown images of Pokemon from the original GameBoy game mixed in with other stimuli, a specific region of Pokemon players’ brains lit up consistently in response to Pokemon. That means that the information is stored in the same part of the brain across all (or at least most) people who had that similar experience…He compared that to when you look at something like the room around you, which will go across more of your retina. “Because they have different locations on your retina,” Gomez continued, “they have different locations in your brain, and it turns out that the Pokemon region emerges in a part of your brain that responds to information from the center of your retina.”

Umm could? Thats the understatement of the century buddy. I first played Pokemon over 20 years ago and I still vividly remember very specific experiences like when I first caught a Magmar while eating at UNO with the grandparents. Sorry grandma, but theres no time to chat over deep dish pizza, I’m on a mission here. So to say theres a part of my brain that has the original 151 embedded into it is the least surprising thing science has ever taught me. No shit. I put 100+ hours into a game that I played on a cylinder block with a green dimly lit 3 inch screen. My eyes were trained from a very young age to identify which pocket monster had appeared and then doing the on the fly analysis of their type (fire, water, ground etc.) in between Bagel Bites and whether it would help me enough to beat the Elite Four.

But its not just another bullshit waste of time experiment like half the studies we blog about here because it turns out studies like this could actually help improve the way people with various disabilities learn.

While the fact that Pokemon players share some grey matter is amusing, this isn’t all just fun and games. The study makes progress toward actually figuring out how the human brain is wired and why is stores information the way it does, which in turn could be used to help people with visual deficiencies.

Gomez further explained that the “finding suggests that the very way that you look at a visual stimulus, like a Pokemon or words, determines why your brain is organized the way it is. That’s useful going forward because it might suggest that visual deficits like Dyslexia or face-blindness might result simply from the way you look at stimuli, and so it’s a promising future avenue.”

Thats why I’ve always railed against the Mothers Against Video Games or whatever nonsensical group thats been created. Video games aren’t just a time suck; they teach you multi-tasking, problem solving, and how to perform under pressure. Now they might actually help scientists understand how to improve education for people with learning disabilities? Your move, anti-gamers.

So maybe I am a 30 year old man thats overly excited for a movie about Pokemon, but hey it’s not just a game anymore; it’s brain science. Pokemon is basically like Jeopardy one could say.

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