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Scientists found "Pikachu brain area": ​​When you were a child, you played more games and left a special mark on your brain.

via:博客园     time:2019/5/11 20:32:42     readed:462


Written by: Yang Xinzhou

Identify the brain area of ​​the object

Humans have a strong ability to discern when they receive visual stimuli, so we can clearly see what we are seeing. And when we identify things, we will have an impact on our brain to varying degrees. Neuroscientists believe that this ability benefits from the calculation of the visual flow in the cerebral cortex.Involving a range of brain regions from the primary visual cortex to the ventral temporal lobe cortex (VTC).

The reason why human beings can recognize different faces, words, numbers, and places is also due to the existence of the leaves. The brain area is located just inside the ear and consists of a cluster of pea-sized neurons, but there will be some differences between people of different ages and genders.

As early as 2005, scientists at the California Institute of Technology discoveredThere are some cells in the temporal lobe that respond to specific images.One of the brains of one of the subjects responded to various images of former US President Bill Clinton; and one of the cells in the human brain would be particularly actor to Rachel in the American sitcom "Friends." Jennifer · Anniston reacts; even when the subject sees the image of the cartoon "The Simpsons" or "The Beatles", a cell in the brain becomes excited. .

This has fascinated many neuroscientists about the plasticity of the brain. It is now known that personal experiences are important for the developmental and cognitive abilities of VTCs, especially when they are seen in early childhood, which can have profound effects on the brain, such as observing young macaques. Special objects cause the brain to produce brain regions that identify the particular object; and if they are not seen in their early childhood, their cerebral cortex does not even have an area that corresponds to the face. This also makes a group of scientists at Stanford University very interested. Does humanity also shape a special brain area because of childhood experience, what is the key to prove?

“The most common thing we might think of is to force a child whose brain is still in development to continue to observe a given experimental object.” Jesse Gomez, one of the authors of the paper, said, “But want to lock up a child. An object lasts for hours, which sounds unethical. & rdquo; want to make the brain generate enough stimulation for new objects, often need to hold the same image, similar contrast and observation distance, repeated viewing. Although the research team can't directly carry out this operation, in reality there is something that can perfectly meet the requirements of the experimental conditions, that is, the Nintendo palm treasure that was popular in the United States that year.Pokémon.

Game changes the brain

In 1996, Nintendo launched the first generation of Poké (mon) handheld game GameBoy, because children older than 5 years old can play games, which became a popular children's toy. After more than a decade, this kind of palm game console has become an excellent experimental tool. Because each child is playing the game console, the distance between the game console and the eyes is basically the same, but each child may play different times, and some may even play for a few hours a day, and then continue for many years, this is The time of playing the game can be used as an experimental condition to explore its impact on the brain.


Currently neuroscience believes there is4 factors affect the formation of new areas of the cerebral cortex:

1. The focus of different objects on the retina, such as looking at the face mainly using the central vision of the retina, while viewing the location uses a wider retinal peripheral vision;

2. Observe the edge of the object, for example, the real face has a sense of spatial curve, while the animated character is flat and sexy;

3. Is there a life feature, such as a human face from a living individual, and a scenery is not;

4. Object size. Faces are generally smaller than objects such as houses and cars.

The researchers believe that Pokémon is very special, and the characters of Pokémon are almost limited to 2.5× 2.5 cm in the game console screen. This is not the same as the face or landscape we usually see.This fixed-size, uniquely-characterized Pokémon character seems to be more likely to form central retinal vision.

In addition, most of the Pokémon characters are fictional (perhaps 喵喵, Abai Snake and Squid King can also find traces in reality), so all these character stimuli in the brain are single source and are fixed on the screen. The characters on the top are all linear. This seems to fit all the elements of the new brain area above. Scientists can't help but think of an interesting question. How do these game animated characters who grow up with their children change our brains?


“Because Pokémon is very small, it only uses a small part of the central retina,” Gomez explained. “It is different from the face and location, so this information should be sent to the brain. The area is processed. ”

Gomez recruited 11 Pokémon masters with an average age of 24 years old. These people are loyal fans of Pokemon at the age of 5-8. They spend almost a few hours playing games every day until now. exception. Using functional nuclear magnetic imaging, the researchers observed subjects looking at different brains, including faces, animals, cartoons, words, places, and Pokémon.


For both groups of subjects, the brain area responded almost identically when observing faces and scene locations. Although everyone's brain anatomy will be different, everyone in the VTC brain has a fixed position to identify faces and scenes. However, Pokémon is obviously different. When I was a child, I was a Pokémon game master.When they observe the Pokémon role in the plane, some areas of the brain of the VTC will react violently.And the area where the reaction takes place is different from the way to identify faces and scenes.. The people in the control group had no special reaction to Pokémon.


Here is the response of the VTC brain region when Pokémon sees different images. The above is the control population.

The researchers also analyzed the four elements of the subject's observation of Pokémon and compared it with the observations of the face and scene. The results show that when humans observe Pokémon, the field of vision is concentrated to the center of the retina, the range is smaller than the face; the line is more linear; the object is extremely small; the judgment of the life feature is between the face and the scene.Pokémon These special conditions will send information to the VTC that is different from the brain area responsible for the face and scene, and eventually form a "Pokémon brain area".


“This study tells us that the brain is capable of forming brain regions that recognize specific objects, which is completely different from our previous perceptions,” Gomez said. “Our brain is not static, at least our childhood. Experience can dramatically change the brain. ” And for those parents who are worried about playing games when they are young and playing new brains will affect their children's growth, Gomez also pointed out that the birth of the new brain area will not affect the children's growth, after all, these Poké mon masters selected in the experiment It is not a doctor of science or an employee of a large Google company. Excessive addiction to the game affects the learning process, which is the main reason that affects children's success.

Paper: Extensive childhood experience with Pokémon suggests eccentricity drives organization of visual cortex


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