Playing Chess Can Boost Your Brain
Well, according to a new study by the University of Texas, that old saying might actually hold some truth.
Researchers have discovered that regular chess players are better at analyzing visual information than non-chess players.
Specifically, they use more of their brain when processing other people’s faces.
Scientists studied the brain activity of players from the university’s top-ranked chess team as they stared at pictures of chess games and human faces.
The results of the study revealed that reading a chessboard—analyzing a game layout for areas of tactical strength and weakness—is probably a lot like reading a face.
While playing chess on a good old-fashioned board is likely the best method, this is great news for us who indulge in video game chess on our smartphones or tablet devices.
Younger learners, with their agile, still-forming brains, could benefit from playing chess on a regular basis. So forget the stereotype of the chess nerd—it might actually be good for growing brains!
What’s next for the Texas research team? They hope to take their work beyond the chessboard and study player responses to other visual stimuli.
Ultimately, they hope their research will lead to new teaching methods that might unlock similar potential for the rest of us.