The Neuroscience of Game Shows

by F.

Ogi Ogas is a Ph.D. student in cognitive neuroscience at Boston University. He went on Who Wants to be a Millionare hoping to use his knowledge of how his mind works to make some real money. It worked.

The first technique I drew upon was priming. The priming of a memory occurs because of the peculiar “connectionist” neural dynamics of our cortex, where memories are distributed across many regions and neurons. If we can recall any fragment of a pattern, our brains tend to automatically fill in the rest. For example, hearing an old Madonna song may launch a cascade of linked memories: your high school prom where it was the theme song, your poorly tailored prom outfit, your forgotten prom date, the stinging embarrassment when you threw up in the limo.

The rest of the story is at Seed. Ogas ended up with $500,000.