Brain ActivitySo you can’t seem to make any progress in Demon’s Souls — potions are spare, your armor is weak, and the enemies are too powerful. Don’t blame the developers — blame the structure of your own brain!

The University of Oxford medical journal, Cerebral Cortex, published a new neurological study that shows a strong link between the size of the brain and the capacity to understand and master games. More specifically, the link exists between three structures of the brain: the caudate nucleus, the putamen, and the nucleus accumbens. These neural departments are responsible, collectively, for skill acquisition and memory.

The study drafted 39 adults based on their health and their low exposure to video games. After having their brain scanned, the participants played Space Fortress, a game developed at the University of Illinois with the express aim of measuring cognitive capacities. During the experiment, the scientific team asked half of the participants to get the highest possible score, while they assigned the rest with tasks which challenged specific thinking skills. 

The results are very interesting: Subjects with the largest nucleus accumbens learned fastest, exceeding their competitors in the earliest stages of the game. According to the leader of the study, Kirk Erickson, the accumbens communicates with the brain’s reward center, motivating participants to work their hardest early on. The study also showed that subjects with the largest putamens outperformed their peers during the “variable priority training.” Again, Dr. Erickson explains the results,”The putamen…has been implicated in learning procedures. [Those with the largest putamens] learned more quickly and learned more over the training period.”

So as demons stab your now-inanimate corpse, rest assured that it’s not your fault — blame your parents for their faulty genes [via Ars Technica].