Can’t wait to see the new Pikachu movie? Be careful. Watching Pokémon extensively can rewire your brain, according to research by Stanford University psychologists.
By comparing brain scans of people who have played a lot of Pokémon as a kid with those of people with a Poké-free youth, the scientists have pinpointed the exact place where Poké-knowledge is stored, reports Stanford News. Your personal Pokédex.
Researcher Jesse Gomez says using Pokémon is perfect to find out if early childhood exposure is critical for developing dedicated brain regions. “What was unique about Pokémon is that there are hundreds of characters, and you have to know everything about them in order to play the game successfully. I figured, ‘If you don’t get a region for that, then it’s never going to happen.”
For his research he showed pictures of Pokémon to eleven test subjects who played the game intensively between the ages of 5 and 8, while their brains were being scanned. He compared this with scans of eleven people who had not played the videogame as children.
Gomez, himself a dedicated player in his early years, stresses that parents don’t have to worry about his findings, even if their children play a lot of videogames. “I would say to those parents that the people who were scanned here all have their PhDs. They’re all doing very well.”