Seasoned Pokémon masters likely know the original 151 like the back of their hand. And now, new research reveals how that’s possible: brain scans show the region of the brain responsible for storing information about Pokémon.
Not only did the neurological Pokédex stay consistent among adults who played the Pokémon games as kids, but it was only responsible for recognizing Pokémon, according to research published Monday in the journal Nature Human Behavior.
The Stanford University neuroscientists recruited 11 self-proclaimed Pokémon masters and 11 Pokémon-naïve participants and monitored part of the brain called the occipitotemporal sulcus. The brain region activated more strongly in gamer brains when presented with Pokémon pictures in gamer brains — but indiscriminately activated for images of animals and Pokémon alike for newcomers to the franchise.
It turns out that the brains of experienced Pokémon trainers clumped Pokémon together due to their distinct style rather than breaking them down into their component shapes or colors along with images from other categories, according to The Verge.
This doesn’t mean that, as our genetic ancestors eventually evolved into humans, some weird quirk of natural selection encoded a “Pokémon region” into our brain. Rather, kids who played Pokémon games bombarded their brains with a lot of information that it then had to process and organize.
Maybe it makes sense, given that people playing the original Gameboy games would have seen the same images, that all of their brains would have used the same strategy as they tried to catch ’em all.
READ MORE: Brain scans reveal a ‘pokémon region’ in adults who played as kids [The Verge]