Big Brain Better For Gaming

It’s Medical Friday here on TSA with our report that video games give you rickets and now we find that the size of your brain may determine exactly how good you are at Burn Zombie Burn. Here comes the science bit:

A team from the University of Illinois, the University of Pittsburgh and Massachusetts Institute of Technology ran a test on 10 men, 29 women who had spent less than three hours each week playing video games in the previous two years. For the test they had to play two versions of a game, one version required them to reach an exclusive goal; the second version had shifting priorities and multiple tasks.


The volunteers all had MRI scans which showed that those with a larger nucleus accumbens outperformed the others in the first few hours of the test. The nucleus accumbens is the brains ‘award centre’ so they suggest this group performed well to starts due to the “sense of achievement and the emotional reward” – on other words, they were trophy whores. Those plays who performed best overall had larger sections of caudate and putamen.

“This makes sense, because these areas have been linked to learning procedures and new skills, as well as adapting to changing environments. These people could do a number of things at once. Think of it like driving a car, as well as looking at the road, you’re tampering with your GPS, and talking to your passengers,” says Prof Arthur Kramer of the University of Illinois.

“The great thing about using a video game rather than methodical cognitive tests is that it brings us a step closer to the real world and the challenges people face.”

The team calculated that those with the larger brains were around a quarter better at games than their small craniumed friends. Well done to all scientist involved for discovering that those people with more ‘thinking stuff’ in the head can ‘think better’. Coming next on Medical Friday @ TSA, a report from Sweden where scientist have discovered that blind people are not going to benefit from 3D gaming.

Source: BBC