Chess experts use brain differently than amateurs

Jan 20, 2011
People play "shogi" or Japanese chess, during a street shogi tournament in Tokyo's central business district of Shimbashi in 2007. Experts use different parts of their brains than amateurs, maximizing intuition, goal-seeking and pattern-recognition, said a study out Thursday that examined players of shogi, or Japanese chess.

Experts use different parts of their brains than amateurs, maximizing intuition, goal-seeking and pattern-recognition, said a study out Thursday that examined players of shogi, or Japanese chess.

Researchers used (MRI) scans to compare the of amateurs and professionals who were presented with various shogi board patterns and were told to think of their next move.

They found that certain regions of expert brains lit up, while the amateurs' did not, said the research led by Japanese scientist Xiaohong Wan and published in the journal Science.

When they asked players to mull their next move, experts' brains showed more activity in the area associated with visualizing images and , known as the precuneus area of the parietal lobe.

When pressed to come up quickly with a move, activity surged in another region called the caudate nucleus, where goal-directed behavior is rooted.

"This activation did not occur in the amateurs or when either group took their time in planning their next move," said the study.

Researchers believe that experts who train for years in shogi are actually perfecting a circuit between the two regions that helps them quickly recognize the state of the game and choose the next step.

"Being 'intuitive' indicates that the idea for a move is generated quickly and automatically without conscious search, and the process is mostly implicit," said the study.

"This intuitive process occurs routinely in experts, and thus it is different from inspiration, which occurs less frequently and unpredictably."

Explore further: How nerve cells communicate with each other over long distances

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Adult and child brains perform tasks differently

May 11, 2005

Children activate different and more regions of their brains than adults when they perform word tasks, according to investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Reporting in the ...

Sporting Prowess Through Brain Power

Feb 09, 2010

A study conducted by scientists at Brunel University and at the University of Hong Kong has found that expert sportsmen are quicker to observe and react to their opponents' moves than novice players, exhibiting enhanced activation ...

Recommended for you

Why your favourite song takes you down memory lane

Aug 28, 2014

Music triggers different functions of the brain, which helps explain why listening to a song you like might be enjoyable but a favourite song may plunge you into nostalgia, scientists said on Thursday.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation of brain boosts memory

Aug 28, 2014

Stimulating a particular region in the brain via non-invasive delivery of electrical current using magnetic pulses, called Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, improves memory, reports a new Northwestern Medicine ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

John_Doe
not rated yet Jan 24, 2011
I have an excuse now.