Bigger Brain, Better Gamer

It’s true, gamers have bigger brains – or at least bigger striatums, the part of the brain associated with cognitive processes.

A recent study published in Cerebral Cortex determined that the size of certain parts of the brain indicates how well a person will perform at complex video games.

The researchers, including MBF customers Anne Graybiel and Daniel Simons, trained thirty-nine participants to play Space Fortress. Developed by the University of Illinois specifically for this study, the video game is similar to the classic arcade game Star Castle.

Utilizing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the scientists measured parts of the brain associated with learning. The participants with a larger nucleus accumbens, caudate nucleus, or putamen – all parts of the striatum – excelled at the game.

The group’s findings come at time when military, business, and classroom educators are frequently turning to video games for training purposes, according to MSNBC blog Cosmic Log.

The study’s principle author Kirk Erickson told Cosmic Log blogger Alan Boyle, “In the future, we might be able to tailor the training regimens based on pre-existing differences in the brain. Some people might be slower at reaching the same level, so that means they might need more time to learn the same process.”

Read the full article “Striatal Volume Predicts Level of Video Game Skill Acquisition” at Cerebral Cortex.

{Image of the Space Fortress video game courtesy of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute}

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