Winning may take all your brain power

All areas of the brain become active when playing games, a study finds.

Nearly your entire brain is engaged in striving for success when you play games, according to a new study.

The finding that many more brain regions besides the reward centres activate in an attempt to win games, such as rock-paper-scissors, makes sense in terms of evolution, the Yale University researchers noted.

"Our brain functions to maximise the chance of survival and reproduction, so reward should be important for all cognitive functions, and thus most brain regions," lead author Timothy Vickery, a postdoctoral fellow in the psychology department, said in a university news release.

He and his colleagues used a special pattern analysis technique to examine functional MRI scans of volunteers as they won and lost games. The results showed that wins and losses were recognisable in nearly all areas of the brain.

The study appears in the Journal Neuron.

"We aren't saying that the dopamine network is not the core system of reward processing in the brain," Vickery said. "Our novel point is that this information makes its way throughout the entire brain in a much more far-reaching manner than previously thought."

(HealthDay, October 2011)

Read more:

Fascinating brain facts

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
27% - 9950 votes
No
73% - 26290 votes
Vote