American Go E-Journal


Sunday October 31, 2010

Exciting new research on the effect of go in the social sciences were among the presentations at the 7th International Conference on Baduk (ICOB) in South Korea on October 24. “Although there have been numerous academic studies involving baduk in the mathematics, artificial intelligence and computer science fields,” Dr. Ernest Brown (l) told the E-Journal, “this conference presented exciting research in social science, psychological and cognitive areas of study.” The conference is sponsored by the Myong-ji University Department of Baduk Studies and took place concurrently with the 5th Korea Prime Minister’s Cup (below). In recent years, Brown – clinical director of a day treatment program for adolescents in San Francisco, who presented a paper at the conference — reports, “American psychotherapists that play baduk have reported anecdotal data to suggest that baduk is useful in working with therapy clients, particularly troubled/dis-enfranchised adolescents.  However, the research being conducted in Korea and Japan is very promising for American go players who are interested in similar fields and provides an opportunity for research in America.” Brown also reports that “I also heard of a German study that demonstrated improvement in reading ability (text) as a result of playing go. The researchers in that study were looking for improvement in mathematics, but found instead that the students’ reading scores improved.” Cognitive behavioral treatments of aggressive adolescents is currently the most promising and evidence-based treatment of successful rehabilitation, Brown adds. “However, treatments of this sort are also related to the motivation of the client to practice the activities that are suggested.  This study suggests that using activities such as baduk, which students may be easily attracted to and willing to pursue, can be an aide to enhancing their cognitive processes.  Additionally, there is evidence that there is frontal lobe deficiency in aggressive adolescents.  This study is promising in pointing to the use of baduk in improving frontal lobe activity.” During his visit to Korea, Dr. Brown also visited a baduk school for children. “They have developed a sensational curriculum with many materials for teachers, including workbooks, powerpoint and cartoon/interactive video, and a huge data-base of problems and technique instruction that levels up systematically.  Some of this information is already available in English.  The information, in addition to providing a very proficient baduk curriculum, also creates a professional presentation that is would be extremely persuasive for parents.” Click here for more information. photos by Allan Abramson