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You can catch 'em all, but can you recognize 'em all?
Image Credit: EnchantedFairy, iStock. Neurons are notoriously picky. A few will fire like crazy for Jennifer Anistonbut not for Halle Berry; some pay homage to Kobe Bryant, while turning a cold shoulder to Bill Clinton. The findings, published yesterday in the journal Nature Human Behavior, could help explain how the brain tunes into visual cues—and the ways in which information gets encoded during our early years.
Our brains are constantly being bombarded with information. To keep things straight, certain clusters of neurons will only send als in the presence of certain triggers, like specific colors, words, objects, or faces. Not everyone reacts to the same things, but for those with common interests, these brain regions tend to be consistent across people, regardless of age, sex, or race and ethnicity.
Through consistent gameplay, children worldwide had been exposed to the same set of images over and over, some for many years in a row. It was, in a sense, the perfect natural experiment.
The brain region was also consistent across individuals, in a teeny, pea-sized fold located in just behind the ears, that takes in images seen with our central, rather than peripheral, vision. That makes sense, given that most players of the Nintendo game spent their days with their eyes fixed on a tiny screen positioned roughly a foot from their face. In a way, this hints at just how malleable and versatile the brain really is, Grill-Spector said in a statement.
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