If you’re a committed but frankly useless gamer there may be an underlying reason. Your brain is broken. Okay, it’s not broken, but the make up of it may well determine the success of your on-screen antics. Physorg.com are reporting that researchers can predict your performance on a video game “simply by measuring the volume of specific structures in your brain”.
The report comes in the wake of a new study in the journal Cerebral Cortex which found that “nearly a quarter of the variability in achievement seen among men and women trained on a new video game could be predicted by measuring the volume of three structures in their brains”.
The study adds to the evidence that specific parts of the striatum, a collection of distinctive tissues tucked deep inside the cerebral cortex, profoundly influence a person’s ability to refine his or her motor skills, learn new procedures, develop useful strategies and adapt to a quickly changing environment.
“This is the first time that we’ve been able to take a real world task like a video game and show that the size of specific brain regions is predictive of performance and learning rates on this video game,” said Kirk Erickson, a professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and first author on the study.
They used high-resolution Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to analyze the size of these brain regions in 39 healthy adults (aged 18-28; 10 of them male) who had spent less than three hours a week playing video games in the previous two years. The volume of each brain structure was compared to that of the brain as a whole.
“Research has shown that expert video gamers outperform novices on many basic measures of attention and perception, but other studies have found that training novices on video games for 20 or more hours often yields no measurable cognitive benefits.These contradictory findings suggest that pre-existing individual differences in the brain might predict variability in learning rates,” the authors wrote.