We’ve heard it more than once back in 5th grade:
Time to put your thinking caps on.”
Until one day, students might just do that. Up until a few weeks ago, the proverbial thinking cap only had a figurative meaning, but apparently science has finally managed to catch up. A couple of American scientists have created a real thinking cap that could help people learn and make decisions quicker.
This unique device is the brainchild of psychology professor Geoff Woodman and Ph.D. student Robert Reinhart of Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. It works by sending very low electrical shocks to the brain when worn. The duo claim that the electrical stimulation of certain parts of the brain could make the wearer learn new skills and make better decisions.
How COOL is that?
The team tested their theory at the university’s Visual Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, indeed, studies performed on the human brain have revealed that negative voltage spikes occur in the medial-frontal cortex of the brain, milliseconds before we make a mistake. Woodman and Reinhart figured that a part of the brain can influence learning and decision making.
The two decided to test if it is possible to control the brain’s electrophysiological response to mistakes. They also wanted to see if this response could be improved or decreased based on the direction of electrical current applied. So they set about creating a cap by using an elastic headband and a bunch of electrodes that are applied to the cheek and crown of the head.
Through these electrodes, a transcranial direct current stimulation is applied for 20 minutes. Later, an EEG cap is wrapped around the head to capture readings of the brain while subjects perform learning activities. Initial trials showed that 75% of the over five dozen people tested displayed a remarkable improvement in learning and decision making when wearing the thinking cap!
We did find that the effects lasted about five hours,” Woodman said.
Wear it for 20 minutes and you get 5-hour benefits?! This is like WHOAH!
He also suggested that the cap could be very useful for a commercial pilot or a surgeon and it could help people with psychiatric disorders as well.
The team is currently researching for the long-term effects of wearing the cap. So, in case you were hoping to get one to help you study for a big test, you’re going to have to wait a while longer.
See the Super Genius invention in the videos below!
credits to livescience