You're always on my mind
Do you consider yourself a big fan of Pokémon? Did you happen to be a youngster when the franchise first got off the ground? If so, a very specific part of your brain might be tied to Pokémon 24/7.
The scientific journal Nature has shared the results of a study at Stanford that compared the brains of people who played “a lot of Pokemon in their childhood” to those who did not. In particular, the study looked at people who played Pokémon between 1995 and 1998, and the results were pretty surprising.
Those who interacted with Pokémon during that early era were shown images of the original generation, and it consistently caused a specific part of their brain to light up. Researchers weren’t exactly sure why this happened, but they think the age at which these people came into contact with Pokémon might have something to do with it. Researcher Jesse Gomez expanded on this idea, discussing how it may also have something to do with how vision works.
“If you look at Pokemon, they’re very small and you use your central vision, so they land in a part of the center of your retina. Because they have different locations on your retina,” he continued, “they have different locations in your brain, and it turns out that the Pokemon region emerges in a part of your brain that responds to information from the center of your retina… [The] finding suggests that the very way that you look at a visual stimulus, like a Pokemon or words, determines why your brain is organized the way it is. That’s useful going forward because it might suggest that visual deficits like Dyslexia or face-blindness might result simply from the way you look at stimuli, and so it’s a promising future avenue.”