Have you ever wondered how a professional gamer‘s brain differs to an amateur gamers brain? EEG (Electroencephalography) headsets allow researchers to monitor and record all of the electrical activity generated by the brain using a headset that places electrodes on the scalp.
As the technology behind EEG headsets has improved and prices have reduced, the tech has become a lot more accessible, allowing for some interesting research to be conducted. Partypoker recently conducted a study looking at the brains of poker players that aimed to look at the differences between professionals and amateurs.
It’s within this competitive environment that playing a game of poker draws many similarities to competitive video gaming and thus the conclusions of the study can be applied to the world of gaming in general.
Partypoker’s study took six players (2 beginners, 2 intermediates, and 2 experts) and asked them to play a 40-minute session of Texas Hold’em poker whilst wearing an EEG headset. Data from the headsets was converted into images and then brain maps were created allowing the data to easily be studied by researchers.
A number of conclusions were found, the first being that managing emotion plays a key factor in our ability to perform at a consistently high level in competitive gaming. The ability for professionals to stay calm and not let emotion overwrite logic is one of the key things that differentiates them from amateur players.
Another finding from the study was that researchers found professional players show more consistent levels of engagement throughout the competition. Whether you are engaged in a poker game or a competitive video game, it’s common to experience an increase in adrenaline, which can negatively affect levels of engagement with the game at hand. Professional players are more able to stay calm through this increase in adrenaline than amateur players are, allowing them to focus better on the task at hand.
The final conclusion found in the study was that self-control and patience are crucial to success in a competitive environment. Ultimately, gamers who lack self-control can end up making poor decisions.
Our takeaway from this study is that no matter what you are competing in, be it poker, a video game tournament or sports; to improve your game it is important to practice staying calm, focused and patient in times of high-adrenaline and stress.