There are many people in this world who are not good with maths. Lately, some psychologists at the University of Oxford have discovered that mild electric shocks to brain may help those people to increase their efficiency solving maths problems!
Researchers selected 51 students from the University of Oxford and asked them to perform two arithmetic tasks testing their calculation and rote learning abilities over a five-day period. Each day, researchers gave 25 students a brain stimulation called Transcranial Random Noise Stimulation (TRNS) on an area of the brain responsible for arithmetic skills while performing the tasks. Researchers discovered that the efficiency of solving maths problem of 25 TRNS given students had increased a lot compared to the 26 non-TRNS given students. The 25 TRNS given students solved maths puzzles 27 per cent faster than the 26 non-TRNS given students.
Roi Cohen Kadosh, an experimental psychologist at the University of Oxford in the U.K., said in a statement, “With just five days of cognitive training and noninvasive, painless brain stimulation, we were able to bring about long-lasting improvements in cognitive and brain functions. Our aim is to help those with poor numeracy, which is approximately 20 per cent of the population. But we need to extend the results to the general population, and use more ecological settings, such as classrooms. There is of course more work to be done, but it is a promising direction.”
Findings of the study have been published in Current Biology. If this technique is proved effective and safe, then electrical stimulation could be used in clinics, classrooms and even at home to help people who struggle with particular cognitive tasks.