Pokemon fans may have developed a brain region dedicated to recognizing the virtual creatures

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

If that sounds like an outlandish concept to you, it's worth noting that these findings aren't completely revolutionary. Previous studies have found that many individuals have similar brain cell clusters for recognizing popular political figures and celebrities, such as Bill Clinton, Kobe Bryant, and Jennifer Aniston.

Interestingly, this Pokemon-related cluster of brain cells was activated in roughly the same area across 11 different "Pokemon experts" and novices when they were tasked with recognizing the virtual creatures. However, as you might expect, the experts' brains responded "more strongly" to images of Pokemon than their less-fanatical counterparts.

Researchers have come to the conclusion that the type of vision we're using to look at a given object, person, or -- in this case -- Pokemon determines what part of the brain is being used to recognize it. Apparently, because Pokemon on classic Gameboy screens were relatively small, they "occupy a small portion in the central retina" when gazed at. Given that Pokemon fans all played on the same devices, that could explain why the test subjects seem to have developed similarly-placed cell clusters.

Researcher Jesse Gomez says these findings imply that the human brain is "capable of developing more specialized brain regions for recognizing objects than we previously thought," which may in turn mean that we're "not limited" by our brains, but rather by how many unique and impactful experiences we have as children.

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
"Pokemon fans may have developed a brain region dedicated to recognizing the virtual creatures"

This would be found at the very base of the brain, connected to the anus .....
 

Philip Pyne

TS Member
Doesn't this apply to anything, not just Pokemon? Anything you spend a lot of time doing you will become more familiar with. Humans are pretty good at pattern recognition.
 
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Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member
Doesn't this apply to anything, not just Pokemon? Anything you spend a lot of time doing you will become more familiar with. Humans are pretty good at pattern recognition.
I think, and I could be wrong, that the main reason this is particularly interesting to researchers is that it's the same specific cluster across several different people, some expert fans, some not so much.