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What Can Pokémon Teach Us About Our Brains?

Pokemon Go community day Niantic Labs

 

Scientists are Using Pokémon As a Way of Studying Our Brains

 

Okay, we know how this sounds, but bear with us. Scientists over at Stanford have found a way to learn a lot about the brain. And it’s all thanks to Pokémon.

The Study

A bunch of psychologists at Stanford had a somewhat radical idea. They wanted to use Pokémon in a study to figure out how the brain organizes itself. And how the stimuli would react in adults years later.

The study itself may sound a bit strange, but scientists have been using visual stimuli for years as a way of identifying what parts of the brain were activated. In this case, it also involved a childhood favorite. They chose one that happened to have a large number of characters to recognize and remember.

The study was designed using only the classic red and blue Pokémon. And that was done for a reason – they wanted to study adults, and since the age group they were hoping to study grew up with those specific Pokémon (as opposed to the wider variety available now) the choice was obvious.

The Results

The study was able to get a variety of data and results. Some of the answers were surprising, while others more expected. The ultimate result supports the belief that early childhood exposure to a stimulus will increase its impact on brain development.

In this specific instance, the explanation is very simple. The adults they studied that played Pokémon when they were children had specific parts of their brains light up when shown Pokémon characters. This response was almost universal among the participants. Meanwhile, the adults that did not play Pokémon as children did not have the same areas of their brain activated when introduced to the very same stimuli.

What do you think of these findings? And what about the idea of using Pokémon and other fan favorites to accomplish the study? Do you wish you had been a part of this project somehow?

 


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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