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  • Video gamers: Size of brain structures predicts success

    University of Illinois psychology professor Art Kramer and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh and MIT found that the volume of specific brain structures could predict how well a person would perform on a video game. The study was conducted at the University of Illinois.

    University of Illinois psychology professor Art Kramer and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh and MIT found that the volume of specific brain structures could predict how well a person would perform on a video game. The study was conducted at the University of Illinois.

    Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      University of Illinois psychology professor Art Kramer and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh and MIT found that the volume of specific brain structures could predict how well a person would perform on a video game. The study was conducted at the University of Illinois.

      Photo by L. Brian Stauffer

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      MRI scans reveal the brain structures analyzed in this study: nucleus accumbens (orange), putamen (red), caudate nucleus (blue), and hippocampus (green).

      Photo courtesy Cerebral Cortex. Rights-protected image. Contact Oxford University Press.

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      Animal studies conducted by Ann Graybiel, an Institute Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, led the team to focus on three brain structures: the caudate nucleus and the putamen in the dorsal striatum, and the nucleus accumbens in the ventral striatum.

      McGovern Institute for Brain Research, MIT

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      The video game Space Fortress, developed at the University of Illinois, requires players to try to destroy a fortress without losing their own ship to one of several potential hazards. The game can be manipulated to test various aspects of cognition.

      Credit: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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      This is the first demonstration that the size of brain structures can predict performance on a real-world task such as a video game, said Kirk Erickson, a professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and lead author on the study.

      Office of Public Affairs, University of Pittsburgh.

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