April 05, 2011
File this under: Things I wish existed when I was struggling for a C- in statistics. A team of researchers at University of Oxford and University College London may have found a way to unnaturally boost your arithmetic skills by hooking your brain up to – get this – electrodes.
From a study that appeared in the November 23 issue of Current Biology, and using a non-invasive technique called transcranial direct-current stimulation, the researchers spent twenty minutes firing up the neurons in their subjects’ right parietal cortex (the sphere of the brain that deals with spatial and mathematical thinking), then administered a series of tests involving numbers and shapes.
The result? Subjects who had their brain stimulated were shown to be better at learning numerical symbols than the test group that didn’t. The best part is that the electrically-stimulated math-boost lasted a whole six months, which is promising, especially for patients with math learning disabilities.
And who knows! Maybe in the future we’ll have Barry Bonds-esque doping scandals, but for math tournaments. “Getting fried” could even take on a new meaning entirely.
(via Scientific American)