The Next God Helmet? Zap Your Brain for Insight


Researchers are using transcranial direct current stimulation to stimulate insight:

Remember Michael Persinger and his “God helmet”? A professor at the University of Sydney and his grad student are working on something similar — and while they claim that it can boost certain kinds of creativity, parapsychologists might find it interesting too.

Until the 1990s, the American-born Allan Snyder was an optical physicist, responsible for some of the key insights that led to the modern  telecom network.  He was awarded the Marconi Prize in 2001 (the year before Tim Berners-Lee won it) and is a fellow of the Royal Society.  But for the past fifteen years or so, most of them at the University of Sydney, he’s been studying the process of insight itself.  He seems to have had little funding; most of his publications have been in lower-impact journals; he has compensated by being very media-friendly; and he’s had a fascination with the use of magnetic and electrical currents to alter brain activity — all of which make me think of him as a sort of Michael Persinger 2.0.

Heretical Notions: Persinger 2.0

(via Catvincent)

Interesting stuff. The research paper can be found here.

It’s probably worth mentioning that Persinger’s results have never been replicated.

More on transcranial direct current stimulation.

See also: thalamic stimulation.

Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation

Beyond radionics:

It sounds like something you dreamed up in the basement with your stoner friends in high school. (In fact, you may actually have done so.) But transcranial direct current stimulation is the hottest thing to hit the improvisational health management scene since acupuncture. A growing body of evidence suggests that sticking a battery onto your head could hack into your brain’s operating system and make life generally more worth living. Think of it as Norton Utilities for the mind.

That’s not an oversimplification of the process. tDCS is literally that simple. The total cost of a treatment is less than $5 of parts from Radio Shack and a sponge. No prescription needed. No needles, no pills, no insurance companies, no weird hormonal fluctuations, no commercials saying “I’m glad [drug of choice] has a low risk of sexual side effects!”

Full Story: Rotten.com.

(Thanks Dad!)

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