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Monday, November 16, 2015

Researchers: Motorcycle riding makes you smarter


BY: Kizito Lubano
My friend who rides his motorcycle to work nearly every day says it’s not only fun but very convenience in the major traffic. Turns out he also may be turning into an evil genius with a dangerous amount of mental processing power. This is after researchers found that motorcycling makes you smarter.
Dr Ryutu Kawashima of the University of Tokyo conducted experiments comparing riders who currently rode motorcycles on a regular basis with ex-riders who once rode regularly but had not taken a ride for 10 years or more. Kawashima asked the participants to ride on courses in different conditions while he recorded their brain activities. The eight courses included a series of curves, poor road conditions, steep hills, hair-pin turns and a variety of other challenges.
What did he find? After an analysis of the data, Kawashima found that the current riders and ex-riders used their brain in radically different ways. When the current riders rode motorcycles, specific segments of their brains (the right hemisphere of the pre-frontal lobe) was activated and riders demonstrated a higher level of concentration.
His next experiment was a test of how making a habit of riding a motorcycle affects the brain. Trial subjects were otherwise healthy people who had not ridden for 10 years or more. Over the course of a couple of months, those riders used a motorcycle for their daily commute and in other everyday situations while Dr Kawashima and his team studied how their brains and mental health changed.
The upshot was that the use of motorcycles in everyday life improved cognitive faculties, particularly those that relate to memory and spatial reasoning capacity. An added benefit? Participants revealed on questionnaires they filled out at the end of the study that their stress levels had been reduced and their mental state changed for the better.
So why motorcycles? Shouldn’t driving a car have the same effect as riding a motorcycle?

“A car is a comfortable machine which does not activate our brains. It only happens when going across a railway crossing or when a person jumps in front of us,” he said.