September 1, 2009
Study: Tetris changes young brains
U.S. and Canadian scientists say the brains of adolescent girls who play the computer game Tetris appear to have greater thickness and efficiency.
Researchers from the Mind Research Network, a non-profit organization in Albuquerque, and the Montreal Neurological Institute performed both structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging studies of the brains of girls who practiced the computer game Tetris for three months, and of girls who did not play the game.
The scientists said the structural MRI measured the thickness of areas of the brain, and the functional MRI measured the efficiency of brain activity.
We were excited to see cortical thickness differences between the girls that practiced Tetris and those that did not, said Dr. Richard Haier, one of the study's authors.
But he expressed surprise
that these changes were not where we saw more efficiency.
Haier said girls who played Tetris had thicker brain tissue in the left frontal and temporal areas that are believed to control complex movements and the coordination of sensory data. However, the brain areas of the girls who practiced Tetris showed greater efficiency in the right frontal and parietal lobes that are associated with critical reasoning and language use.
The research, published in the online journal BMC Research Notes, was funded by an agent for the Tetris Company that also employs Haier as a consultant.