Will Electric Brain Stimulation Become the New Coffee?
Today, scientists believe the stimulation can narrow the gap between when someone is introduced to a skill and when they master it and the motor skills it requires.
What's the Latest?
The Air Force is testing a futuristic way to help its soldiers learn faster and stay concentrated longer. The method involves delivering a mild electric current to the brain, specifically the motor cortex, while a specific task is being performed, e.g. identifying friendly aircraft from foes in a flight simulator. By stimulating the brain mid-task and then reversing the current to inhibit the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in conscious thinking, soldiers scored 250 percent better on their tests than a control group that received no brain stimulation.
What's the Big Idea?
Called trans-craniel direct current stimulation, or tDCS, the process of stimulating the brain has been known to positively affect people with depression since the 1980s. Today, scientists believe the stimulation can narrow the gap between when someone is introduced to a skill and when they master the motor skills it requires. Like learning to ride a bike, for example, we begin wobbly and are unsure how to balance ourselves, but the task eventually becomes second nature. Scientists and the military want to shorten this learning curve so that complex tasks, such as working in an air traffic control booth, can be done more effectively.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.