Friday, January 21, 2011

Secrets of Chess Masters

Why are chess masters so much better? According to some Japanese brain researchers, it's basically right down to wiring!

Using spot games of shogi, the researchers have now pinpointed for the first time two brain regions involved in specific aspects of such intuition. Activity in the precuneus of the parietal lobe, a brain region responsible for integrating sensory information, was observed when professional players perceived and recognized realistic board patterns. Rapid generation of next-moves, in contrast, was identified with activity in the caudate nucleus of the basal ganglia. Among professional players, the results moreover highlight a strong correlation between these regions during next-move generation, suggesting that the precuneus-caudate circuit in their brains has been honed to this specific task.

Courtesy of a PR release from Japan's Riken Brain Science Institute.

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