Watching this clip of a kid who has spent way too much time on Guitar Hero 2 reminded me of the classic study of the somatosensory cortex in string players:
Magnetic source imaging revealed that the cortical representation of the digits of the left hand of string players was larger than that in controls. The effect was smallest for the left thumb, and no such differences were observed for the representations of the right hand digits. The amount of cortical reorganization in the representation of the fingering digits was correlated with the age at which the person had begun to play. These results suggest that the representation of different parts of the body in the primary somatosensory cortex of humans depends on use and changes to conform to the current needs and experiences of the individual.
I’d love to check out the somatosensory cortex of this prodigal eight year old. The agility of his fingers is pretty impressive. It’s just a shame that he has invested so much time in a guitar video game instead of practicing an actual guitar…