This is your brain on Cubs

CHICAGO (WLS) -- It's been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, like rooting for a losing team, and expecting a different result. So are Cubs fans nuts? On the contrary, according to one brain researcher.

For Cubs fans it's been over a century of disappointment and heartbreak. Hopes dashed season after season; a soul-crushing, forehead-slapping, spirit-draining 108 years.

But Cubs fans keep coming back. Why??

"It's like a misbehaving kid, right? You're not going to disown the child. You still love them, and you want the best for them," said Dr. Jordan Grafman, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Grafman is a social neuroscientist, an expert on brains and behavior, and a lifelong Cubs fan. He's drawn this conclusion about those who bleed blue.

"Because of what Cubs fans have had to do, there is no doubt that they have a more developed frontal lobes of the brain," he said.

That's right: the frontal lobes, the more evolved part of the brain responsible for reasoning and regulating feelings. Grafman said there's a reason why Cubs lore is so full and rich. The black cat, the Bartman debacle, that darn Billy Goat are all part of how fans cope, and cope together.

"Because they have to deliberate, because they have to think, because they have to come up rationales and reasons about failures, they tend to want to use the frontal lobes of the brain," Grafman said.

But for many Cubs fans it doesn't take a PhD to explain why they're in it for the long haul.

"Well you keep your fingers crossed and you just hope for the best, I guess," said fan Amy Bastarache.

Craig Parkinson said his frontal lobe is "stressed" Tuesday.

"Big game tonight. Hopefully we can do it. And we can win the next three in L.A. and not have to come back to Wrigley until we play the World Series," Parkinson said.

Dr. Grafman, who grew up in Rogers Park, says the frontal lobes of the brain are also responsible for planning, including hoping and dreaming. Let's hope this year doesn't end in another headache.
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