Did you know that January 4th is National Trivia Day? In honor of our favorite holiday here at Last Call Trivia, here are four awesome pieces of Trivia about…Trivia!
Trivia Improves Memory
Playing Trivia engages the frontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for memory processing. And just like any muscle, the more you work your brain, the stronger it gets! Brain imaging studies have shown that every time we learn something new, we’re changing our brain by expanding our neural network. This is a concept called neuroplasticity.
One example of neuroplasticity has been found in London taxi drivers. Studies found that a taxi driver’s hippocampus — the part of the brain that holds spatial representation capacity — is measurably larger than that of a bus driver in the same city. While bus drivers travel the same route every day, taxi drivers are constantly using this part of the brain for navigatoin.
In the same way physical exercise strengthens the body, challenging the brain can help slow age-related mental decline. That means regularly playing Trivia can keep your mind sharp and alert. So, if you’re notorious for forgetting birthdays or anniversaries, maybe you should celebrate National Trivia Day by finding a Trivia Night near you.
Trivia Enhances Cognition
Cognition is the mental process that allows people to learn and retain new information. The best way to improve cognition is through brain exercises. That’s where Trivia comes into play (pun intended).
The increase in neuroplasticity that comes from playing Trivia develops the ability to see things from different points-of-view. This also leads to an increased understanding of cause-and-effect. And as we become more aware of new patterns, our cognitive abilities improve.
Trivia stretches the brain, asking players to recall information they don’t often use. It’s like a form of mental cross training, because it requires players to think both logically and creatively about a variety of categories. That’s right, Trivia is CrossFit for your brain.
Trivia Provides a Dopamine Rush
Knowing the correct answer to a Trivia question, especially an obscure one, gives players a thrill. In scientific terms, that feeling stems from a dopamine burst caused by winning. Dopamine is one of over one hundred neurotransmitters in the human brain. It’s often referred to as the “motivation molecule,” because it’s impacts drive and focus.
Those with deficient dopamine levels can suffer from a range of symptoms including fatigue, forgetfulness, moodiness, and difficulty concentrating. Dopamine is released naturally when we complete a task or learn something new, which makes Trivia Night a hotbed for dopamine bursts.
This is similar to the high reported during gambling. But, Trivia comes with the added benefit of being a much lower risk activity. With Trivia, the most you stand to lose is a bar tab. And maybe some bragging rights.
Trivia Relieves Stress
Playing Trivia is a fun activity, and it usually takes place in a relaxed environment with a group of friends. Between the lighthearted competition, laughter, and time spent with friends, Trivia is a great way to unwind. Think of your favorite Trivia spot as your own personal Cheers bar.
And there’s scientific evidence to support the benefits as well. Studies have shown that spending time with friends release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is called “tend and befriend,” and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response.
In addition to the instant benefits to spending time with friends at Trivia Night, there are also long-term benefits to mental health. People with high neuroplasticity are less prone to anxiety and depression. Which makes Trivia Night the gift that keeps on giving.