Can Tetris or other games enhance your brain?



From Your brain on Tetris, The Week magazine, Sep 25, 2009

Basel 016 Nintendo TetrisPlaying Tetris, the classic computer game, actually enlarges your brain, scientists say.

The game, which turns 25 this year, calls on players to rapidly fit together colored puzzle pieces as they fall from the top of the screen.

In a recent study, neuroscientists asked two dozen adolescents to play Tetris for a half-hour every day for three months.

Subsequent brain scans revealed that, in these players, certain regions of the cerebral cortex—areas with a role in planning complex movements and coordinating sensory information—had added new cells and grown a half-millimeter thicker.

“It used to be thought that the number of neurons in the brain was fixed after a certain age,” neuroscientist Richard Haier tells BBC.com. “This appears not to be true.”

Left to be resolved is whether the growth in brain cells leads to overall improvements in memory and problem solving. “The $64,000 question is whether these brain changes are beneficial to activities other than playing Tetris,” Haier says.

Photo: Basel 016 Nintendo Tetris by watz.

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Related :

Scientists dissect mystery of genius

Imaging Intelligence

Gender and Brain Imaging

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Originally posted 2009-09-24 22:31:12.

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Comments (4)

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  1. GaryD says:

    From the post:

    “areas with a role in planning complex movements and coordinating sensory information—had added new cells and grown a half-millimeter thicker”

    Wow.. who can’t use new cells for planning movement and coordinating sensory information? On top of that, activities like this help build what’s called a cognitive reserve which helps us latter in life – and can even help prevent or delay the affects of alzheimers and other forms of dementia (ie. the nun study).

  2. Can Tetris or other games enhance your brain?: Information and inspiration to enhance creative expression. The .. http://bit.ly/AJLqF

  3. Alex Colket says:

    I think that playing tetris alone probably won’t produce cognitive changes that carry over to your everyday life. However, combine that with a variety of other brain exercises, and you might be getting somewhere. I think the more you are able to generalize these sorts of skills and use them in different ways, the more you will see them take hold in other activities.

    Here’s a large collection of different brain exercises to workout your attention, memory, problem solving skills and more.

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