Navigation Links
Experts' Brains Work Differently Than Amateurs'
Date:1/20/2011

By Madonna Behen
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Jan. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In a finding that suggests your brain changes once you become an expert at something, Japanese researchers report that years of daily practice appear to have rewired the brains of professional shogi players.

Neuroscientists at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Wako, Japan, studied a group of professional and amateur shogi players. Shogi is the Japanese version of chess. With the use of real-time brain scans, the researchers discovered that the pros activated different parts of their brains than the amateurs did while studying game patterns and contemplating their next moves.

The findings were published in the Jan. 21 issue of Science.

Senior study author Keiji Tanaka, deputy director of the institute and head of the Cognitive Brain Mapping Laboratory, said the experts' unique brain circuitry enabled them to have "superior intuitive problem-solving capabilities."

Professional shogi players, who have practiced three or four hours a day for several years, "repeatedly note that the best next move comes to their mind 'intuitively,'" the authors wrote. "Being 'intuitive' indicates that the idea for a move is generated quickly and automatically without conscious search, and the process is mostly implicit."

"We assume that the players have developed the unique way to use brain circuitry through more than 10 years of deliberative training, but we have no data of brain activity in those people before they started the training," said Tanaka.

Tanaka and his colleagues studied 11 professional players and 17 amateurs, and identified two brain activations that were specific to the pros. First, both groups of players were shown different shogi board patterns as well as other scenes, but only the experts showed activation in a portion of the parietal lobe known as the precuneus. The other brain difference occurred when the players were forced to quickly pick their next best move. The professionals' brain scans revealed activity in a portion of the basal ganglion known as the caudate nucleus, while the amateurs' scans did not.

The researchers suggest that a unique circuit between these two regions of the brain is what enables professional players to expertly recognize board game patterns and quickly choose their optimal next move.

"There was no volume difference of the caudate nucleus between professional and amateur players," said Tanaka. This suggests that "the caudate nucleus is used for other purposes in ordinary people [but] the experts have developed a unique way to use the system."

Paul Sanberg, distinguished professor of neurosurgery and director of the University of South Florida Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa, said the findings were intriguing, and noted that these same changes in brain circuitry might explain why people who repeatedly play other kinds of games, such as computer games, get better and better the more they play.

"If you repeatedly practice any type of game that involves anticipating moves, and get so good at it that your responses are almost automatic, it might be due to a natural function of the brain," said Sanberg.

Sanberg added that the research might also have important implications for future medical treatments. "If you look at the areas of the brains that showed specific activity in the professional game players, these are the same regions that are involved in certain diseases, such as Parkinson's," he noted.

"Anything that adds to our understanding about what these parts of the brain can do is important, and the hope is that we may be able to develop potential treatments to increase the activity in these areas if they're injured," Sanberg said.

More information

Here's more on how to play shogi.

SOURCES: Keiji Tanaka, Ph.D., deputy director, RIKEN Brain Science Institute and head, Cognitive Brain Mapping Laboratory, Wako, Japan; Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., distinguished professor of neurosurgery, director, University of South Florida Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair, Tampa, Fla.; Jan. 21, 2011, Science


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Flu Season Looks Normal This Year, Experts Say
2. Falls as Serious for Elderly as Stroke, Heart Attack: Experts
3. Holiday Drinking Raises Death Toll on U.S. Roads, Experts Warn
4. Hair Of The Dog No Hangover Cure, Say Experts
5. For Cholesterol Control, Experts Urge More Than Meds
6. Driving a Bad Idea for People Wearing a Cast, Brace: Experts
7. Better Methods Needed to Measure Hospital Quality: Experts
8. CHOP experts collaborate in gene survey of childhood brain cancer; intriguing clues found
9. Docs Claim Transplant Cured Man of HIV, But Experts Urge Caution
10. Youth Sports Injuries Reaching Epidemic Levels, Experts Report
11. Put Ladder Safety on Your Holiday To-Do List, Experts Say
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Experts' Brains Work Differently Than Amateurs'
(Date:6/25/2016)... FL (PRWEB) , ... June 25, 2016 , ... The temporary closing of Bruton Memorial ... Plant City Observer , brings up a new, often overlooked aspect of head lice: the ... closing for fumigation is not a common occurrence, but a necessary one in the event ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... First Choice ... States, named Dr. Sesan Ogunleye, as the Medical Director of its new Mesquite-Samuell Farm ... Medical Director of our new Mesquite location,” said Dr. James M. Muzzarelli, Executive Medical ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... , ... June 25, 2016 , ... ... and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a ... area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, ... the latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. ... toward their goal. , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer from a complex ... as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid this pain and ... a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range of emotions, from ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Global MEMS Devices Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to ... The report contains up to date financial ... reliable analysis. Assessment of major trends with potential impact on ... dive analysis of market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 Research ... Pharma News Issue 52" report to their offering. ... in influenza treatment creates a favourable commercial environment for MedImmune ... growing patient base that will serve to drive considerable growth ... vaccine would serve to cap sales considerably, but development is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , , , WHEN: ... , , , , LOCATION: , , , Online, with ... , EXPERT PANELISTS:  , , , Frost & Sullivan,s Global Vice ... Senior Industry Analyst, Divyaa Ravishankar and Unmesh Lal, Program Manager , ... industry is witnessing an exceptional era. Several new demand spaces, such ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: