Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Creativity prescription: 2 miliamps to the scalp.

An old technique for electrical stimulation of the brain is getting a new life. According to a Nature Neuroscience article

Last year a succession of volunteers sat down in a research lab in Albuquerque, New Mexico to play DARWARS Ambush!, a video game designed to train US soldiers bound for Iraq... With just seconds to react before a blast or shots rang out, most forgot about the wet sponge affixed to their right temple that was delivering a faint electric tickle.

Volunteers receiving 2 milliamps to the scalp (about one-five-hundredth the amount drawn by a 100-watt light bulb) showed twice as much improvement in the game after a short amount of training as those receiving one-twentieth the amount of current1. "They learn more quickly but they don't have a good intuitive or introspective sense about why," says Clark.
== Nature 472, 156-159 (2011) | doi:10.1038/472156a ===

The article also mentions development of Thinking Cap, a device for stimulating people's creativity. Allan Snyder, director of the Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney in Australia, claims that in earlier experiments electrical stimulation helped people solve creative problems three times faster than in control conditions.

tags: creativity, brain, health, games, electronics, mind

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