menu

Electric “Thinking Cap” Could Actually Help Generate Ideas

Electric “Thinking Cap” Could Actually Help Generate Ideas
Innovation

Vanderbilt University researchers have found that sending mild stimulation to the brain can enhance or depress learning effects.

Leah Gonzalez
  • 25 march 2014


A Vanderbilt University team of researchers, led by psychologist and PhD candidate Robert Reinhart and assistant professor of psychology Geoffrey Woodman, has conducted a study that showed it is possible to selectively enhance or depress a person’s ability to learn by sending a mild electrical current to the brain.

Previous studies have shown that a spike of negative voltage originates from a certain part of the brain immediately after a person makes a mistake. Reinhart and Woodman wanted to explore the idea that this brain activity has an impact on learning because it allows the brain to learn from mistakes.

The key objectives of the study were to find out if it was possible to control the brain’s electrophysiological response to mistakes and whether its effect can be enhanced or depressed depending on the direction of the current applied to the brain. The researchers also wanted to find out how long the effects lasted and whether the effects can be applied to other tasks, not just learning.

An elastic headband with two electrodes were used in the experiments. One electrode was attached to the cheek and the other on top of the head. The researchers applied 20 minutes of transcranial direct current stimulation or a very mild elecrical current to the research participants. Three types of conditions were tested: a cathodal condition with the current running from the cheek to the crown of the head, an anodal condition with the current running from the crown of the head to the electrode on the cheek, or a “sham” condition where the physical tingling sensation was replicated without an actual current being applied.

After they received the electrical stimulation, the participants were given learning tasks and their brain electrical activities were measured. The researchers found out that when an anodal current was applied, participants had a significantly higher spike in brain activity and made fewer errors and learned more quickly. A cathodal current showed opposite results. The results were not noticed by the participants, but they could be seen clearly on the EEG.

The study, which
was published in the Journal of Neuroscience, can have implications beyond that of learning and can be explored further in the treatment of conditions like schizophrenia and ADHD. This type of research could also have major implications in the wearable tech industry.

Vanderbilt University

Innovation
Trending

Japanese Face Wash Creates A Perfect Rose Every Time

Arts & Culture
Mobile august 26, 2016

Get A Better Idea Of How You Are Wasting Your Time

The TouchTime app is trying to revolutionize personal task management by providing detailed insight on how to be more efficient

Culture august 26, 2016

London Telephone Box Repurposed As A Tiny Mobile Repair Shop

Tools and supplies to replace broken screens or damage are neatly stowed away in these micro-workrooms

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Design august 26, 2016

Conceptual Sportswear Created Out Of Futuristic Condom Material

A Dutch fashion designer is experimenting with new methods and fabrics to make high performance clothing

Fashion august 26, 2016

Fashionable Tassel Will Ensure You Never Lose Your Valuables Again

The device is fashion meets connected tech, that will help you keep track of your belongings at all times

Syndicated august 26, 2016

Would You Wear Wool Shoes To Save The Environment?

As demand for wool shoes grows, a number of US footwear brands are heading directly to the source: the sheep pastures of New Zealand

Sustainability august 26, 2016

Self-Healing Material Is Fashioned Out Of Squid Teeth

Penn State researchers have devised a new textile that uses organic proteins

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Search Engine Turns Your Own Drawings Into Photos

This image-matching software accepts hand-made sketches instead of keywords

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 24, 2016

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Illustrator Interprets The Experiences Of Blind Travelers

Artist Alby Letoy creates drawings of poignant travel memories for the visually impaired

Advertising august 26, 2016

Clickbait Titles Used For The Good Of Charity

An agency devised an unlikely campaign that uses clickbait as a positive force to drive awareness to nonprofit initiatives

Advertising august 26, 2016

The Best In Eye-Catching Olympics Campaigns

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best advertising moments off the field

Work august 26, 2016

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Transforming Light Waves Into A New Art Form

An artist uses glass treated with layers of metallic coatings to create a unique installation called lightpaintings

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Design august 26, 2016

This Windbreaker Lets You Explore The Outdoors While Charging Your Phone

The apparel includes solar panels that allow the wearer to stay connected through the power of renewable energy

Asia august 26, 2016

The Goal Of This Game Is To Not Get Laid Off From Your Job

A hit mobile app has you working really, really hard to not get fired as you climb the corporate ladder

Advertising august 26, 2016

Movie Critic Bot Guides Viewers Through Festival Offerings

The Toronto International Film Festival has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to help attendants curate their schedule

No search results found.