How Guitar Hero led one cognitive psychologist to breakthoughs on music.

How often do any of us decide to make life-altering decisions that go completely opposite to our skills and talents? The NY Times has the story of y what cognitive psychologist Gary Marcus did in trying to learn the guitar. His new book “Guitar Zero: The New Musician and the Science of Learning shows how he got some help from a very unique place:

What finally pushed him wasn’t seeing Springsteen in concert or listening to the “Goldberg” Variations. It was a video game, Guitar Hero, that rewards players who can press the correct buttons in time with recorded music. He was terrible at first, but through sheer repetition he improved just enough to think that maybe rhythm could be learned after all. But real guitars, he was frustrated to learn, weren’t designed by computer engineers.

Despite taking some hits from guitarists for not being completely accurate, Guitar Hero fit perfectly in helping him conquer a new way of thinking and learning to play the real thing. 

– Adnan Agha