London, July 7 (ANI): Taking a step closer towards a ‘thinking cap’ that can enhance the mind’s ability to learn, scientists have found that stimulating the brain with magnets could boost a person’s learning ability.
It was found that when a magnetic pulse was applied to the premotor cortex- the area of the brain just behind the forehead- the brain’s ability to learn a task and remember it was greatly enhanced.
The researchers, led by Dr Lara Boyd at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, have claimed that the technique could be used to enhance intellectual capacity, and help those with learning difficulties.
For the study, the researchers tested the ability of 30 volunteers to track a target on a computer screen with a red dot using a joystick.
During the task, the target would move randomly, then enter a programmed pattern, and finally return to moving randomly.
The participants were not aware of the repeated section, believing that movements were random throughout.
Some of the volunteers had their brain stimulated by magnets, while others did not.
It was found that participants, who had received the stimulation, were significantly better than the other groups at tracking the target during the repeated section of the test.
They showed no significant difference in improvement during the random sections.
Boyd said that the study demonstrated that magnetic stimulation could boost learning skills and eventually lead to a “thinking cap”.
“With this tool we hope to be able to promote learning in patient populations who otherwise have great difficulty in acquiring new motor skills,” the Telegraph quoted her as saying.
She added: “In fact we are actively investigating this possibility right now in my lab.”
The findings of the study have been published in the journal BMC Neuroscience. (ANI)