Chances are if you spent a lot of your time playing Pokémon as a kid, there's a region of your brain that responds positively to character images from the popular series.
According to a study from Standford University, adults who played the games regularly during their childhood have a special part of their brains reserved for remembering Pikachu et al.
The researchers showed test subjects hundreds of Pokémon characters and the brains of longtime fans were stimulated way more than those of persons who aren't as familiar with the game.
This seems pretty obvious, right? However, what's really interesting is the fact that a specific fold called the occipitotemporal sulcus has been activated in the brains of Pokémon fans. The region, located just behind the ears, was not stimulated when non-Pokémon fans were shown images.
Scientists have long known that human beings have specific regions of the brain that enable us to recognize faces, words, and numbers - there's actually a section that prompts us to remember celebrities. These areas are often in the same location in the brain for large groups of people.
A recent Harvard Medical School study found that monkeys need to be exposed to objects from a very young age to develop similar brain regions, so curiosity had Stanford researchers wade into the similarities with humans. It turns out that Pokémon fans were the perfect subjects, as many started playing the games as young kids and the characters are all so unique.
This discovery lends support to the claims that early childhood exposure is needed for the development of dedicated brain regions. The fold triggered by images of various Pokémon characters is the same fold that responds to images of animals, something that has left the researchers to suggest that there are some hardwired brain constraints that determine how the changes occur.
Don't go feeling behind your ears when watching Detective Pikachu in a few days, though. You won't feel anything.