How smart do you think you are? What if you could boost your thinking power? Science and technology has advanced beyond imagination. An actual thinking cap that can chemically enhance your power and ability to think, enhance your brain power…Wow!! Is it possible? Well apparently scientists at Vanderbilt University have designed this cap to test the concept in which the part of the brain that is responsible for adaptive behavior is sent an electrical charge to see if the speed of learning can be increased. It is beyond belief I suppose but if this works we have a solution for students who are having trouble in school. Neuroscientist Robert Reinhart says “we’re using the language of the mind to ask the question, Can we control the controller?”
The cap consists of five components. 1- a 9 volt battery to generate a weak current. 2- A regulator which would allow the researcher to control the flow of charge. 3- a nylon cap to hold the electrodes in place which will be measuring the electrical activity in the brain. 4- An anode which is directly attached through the skull to the medial frontal cortex of the brain. 5- A cathode which will terminate the electrical current in the cheek. According to researchers this is the safest way to stimulate the brain non-invasively. Subjects were stimulated for 20 minutes and then given a learning task. Researchers then measured and monitored the brain activity of each participant. It must have been very interesting to see the precise moment the participants were making mistakes and how after further electrical stimulation how the brain activity changed.
Now my question is how is learning increased? Basically, the research proved that when an increased electric current passed through the brain, the participants made fewer errors and learned from their mistakes. When the current was low the subjects made more errors and took longer to learn the task. Wouldn’t it be cool to learn fast…..We all say we should learn from our mistake but what if our brain actually does register our mistakes and makes amendments. I’m getting goose bumps just writing about this. It is said “we are our worst critics” but it would be wonderful to control the inner critic….perhaps make him shut up sometimes.
When we were in kindergarten our teacher used to say “put on your thinking cap” to focus on a difficult problem. Can this scientific thinking cap make me a genius? I wish!!!! Well my hat sure goes off to all those researchers and scientists who are working hard to make us all smarter people. Let’s see how long before we can go online to purchase our “thinking caps”.