Sunday, November 07, 2010

Brain–training puzzles are useless for improving creativity (surprise! surprise!) But you can still shock your brain into becoming a better mathematician.

From Nature blogs

Earlier this year, a large-scale study of ‘brain training’ games debunked the idea that they can improve general cognitive abilities in healthy young people.

Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Oxford, UK and University College London have shown that maths skills can be improved by stimulating the brain with electricity, perhaps removing the need for brain training games altogether.

A weak current was applied to participants’ parietal lobes – an area of the brain involved in numerical understanding – for 20 minutes before they began learning the associations between a series of nine arbitrary symbols to which the researchers had secretly assigned numerical values. A control group thought they were receiving the same electrical treatment, but were not.

Subjects who received the electrical treatment showed an enhanced ability to grasp the relationships between the symbols compared with the control group. Remarkably, the improvements were still seen six months after completing the training.

tags: creativity, education, information, brain, control

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