Running electricity through one’s scalp can improve video game skills

April 20th, 2011 - 5:30 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Apr 20 (ANI): Scientist has discovered that running electricity through the scalp can sharpen one’s mind and improve video game skills.

In a study funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), scientists at the University of New Mexico hooked subjects up to electrical currents, which were generated through sponges attached to their temples.

Whilst playing ‘DARWARS Ambush!’, a training game designed to help soldiers train for service in Iraq, the subjects’ performance improved when they were running on batteries.

This process is called transcranial direct-current stimulation (tCDS).

‘DARWARS Ambush!’ requires gamers to detect signs of danger in a landscape of dilapidated buildings and abandoned cars, and scan for things such as explosive devices and enemy gunmen.

Half of the test subjects had two milliamps of electricity channelled through their scalp - approximately 1/500th of the energy it takes to power a 100-watt light bulb.

The other test subjects received about 1/20th of that amount.

Neuroscientists Vincent Clarke said that the group that received two milliamps of electricity to the brain showed twice as much improvement over a short period of time compared to the group that received the lesser amount.

“They learn more quickly but they don’t have a good intuitive or introspective sense about why,” quoted Clarke as telling science journal, Nature.

Scientists soon hope they will be able to separate out learning and cognition and amplify or suppress areas of the brain simply by flicking a switch.

“The field is going to explode soon and give us all sorts of new questions,” Clarke added.

More experiments need to be conducted before scientists can confirm tCDS works, but the results tend to suggest that a change to the electrical currents in the brain can improve learning faculties and possibly aid in the treatment of depression and other mental illnesses. (ANI)

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