New research at Stanford reveals that longtime Pokémon players have developed a special cluster of brain cells to help identify dozens of different pocket monsters. After all, we trainers just want to be the very best.
The study reveals that our brains are capable of changing at a young age, based on our visual experiences in childhood. Players who caught, trained, and battled Pokémon at a young age learned to instinctively seek out Pokémon and receive rewards. In turn, this triggered the “evolution” (depending on your opinion) of a pea-sized group of cells that specialise in… well, Pokémon. Consider this a sort of internal Pokédex.Photo: YouTube/Stanford University Channel
One of the researchers, Jesse Gomez, included himself in the study, along with his co-authors who had also grown up on Pokémon. The team used an MRI scanner to observe a test group as they were shown random Pokémon characters, and noticed that the Pokémon players responded more than the control group.Photo: YouTube/Stanford University Channel
This is what happens when you learn to identify different groups of people or objects as a child through rigorous visual stimulation. The same can be said of people who can identify every single X-Men character (even the lamest, most obscure ones) because they consumed all the comics and cartoons as kids.
When you think about it, studying people who grew up on Pokémon is kind of a scientific no-brainer: everyone went through roughly the same “experiment” under very similar conditions: playing the original game on a Game Boy, learning to catch and catalogue Pokémon, and so on. We can’t even begin to wonder how much Ash’s brain has evolved since 1997.