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Surprising Science

Can Humans Learn Matrix-Style?

Could we one day learn to play the piano, reduce mental stress or hit a curve ball with little or no conscious effort? Japanese and American scientists have begun teaching the brain directly.

What’s the Latest Development?

Subconscious learning of high-performance tasks may become a reality. According to research from a group of Japanese and American scientists, when individuals were shown the brain patters of others, perhaps a talented baseball player or piano virtuoso, they were able to change their own brain activity to approximate those of individuals with high-performance skills. The research demonstrates that visual areas of the brain are sufficiently plastic to cause visual perception learning.

What’s the Big Idea?

An interesting characteristic of the study is that subjects were not told which skills they were trying to imitate. This means any brain development or learning that occurred was subconscious. Immediate applications could include showing the brain patterns of healthy individuals to those undergoing physical therapy. If a paralyzed person can imitate the brain activity of someone who can use both their legs, perhaps the paralyzed person can begin to walk faster than would otherwise be possible.

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