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Research Findings on the Relationship Between Motorcycle Riding and Brain Stimulation

March 4, 2009

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. has been involved in joint research on the relationship between motorcycle riding and brain stimulation with Ryuta Kawashima Laboratory of the Department of Functional Brain Imaging, Institute of Development, Aging and Cancer at Tohoku University (Address: 2-1-1 Katahira, Aoba Ward, Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture) as of May 2008. We are now pleased to announce the findings of this research.

Through this research, the relationship between motorcycle riding and brain stimulation has been verified as follows:

1) When riding a motorcycle, the brain of the rider is stimulated.
2) Differences in brain use and level of brain stimulation can be observed in motorcyclists who ride regularly and in motorcyclists who have not ridden for extended periods (at least 10 years).
3) Incorporating motorcycle riding into daily life improves various cognitive functions (particularly prefrontal cortex functions) and has positive effects on mental and emotional health such as stress reduction.

Drawing from its expertise and technology in neuroscience, Kawashima Laboratory conducts research to maintain and improve human brain and cognitive functions through external stimulation or psychological processes. The ultimate goal of this research is to realize a "smart aging society" in which people will be able to live fulfilling, healthy lives. This was the intention behind the current experiment.

Yamaha Motor contributed to this experiment by providing motorcycles, research test courses, staff, and other necessary items. Using these research findings, We will implement initiatives aimed at revitalizing the motorcycle industry.

< Research Outline >

[Experiment 1]


Experiment to determine whether the brain (prefrontal cortex) is stimulated by motorcycle riding


June 7 – July 6, 2008


Sportsland SUGO (Murata Town, Shibata Gun, Miyagi Prefecture)

Measurement Equipment:


Portable optical topography test model (Advanced Research Laboratory, Hitachi , Ltd.)

Model Used:

Yamaha XJR400

Test Subjects: 11 motorcyclists who ride regularly, 10 motorcyclists who have not ridden in over 10 years

[Experiment 2]


Examination of the effect of motorcycle operation as a part of a lifestyle on brain function


June 27 – November 14, 2008


Iwata City and environs, Shizuoka Prefecture

Verification Method:


Cognitive function tests, questionnaires regarding mental health, etc.

Model Used:

Yamaha motorcycle (Model over 250cc with manual clutch)

Test Subjects:

22 healthy motorcycle license holders who have not ridden regularly in over 10 years

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