Brain stimulation boosts problem-solving capacityMarch 30th, 2012 - 3:12 pm ICT by IANS
Sydney, March 30 (IANS) Stimulating the brain can boost one’s ability to solve complex problems, a new study suggests.
“The results suggest non-invasive brain stimulation could assist people in solving tasks that appear straightforward but are inherently difficult,” said Allan Snyder, professor at the University of Sydney.
Our minds have evolved to solve certain problems effortlessly, yet we struggle to solve others that appear simple but require us to apply an unfamiliar paradigm, to ‘think outside the box,’ the journal Neuroscience Letters reported.
“As an example we have taken the famous nine dots problem, where you are asked to join all the dots with four straight lines without taking the pen off the page,” Snyder said. “Surprisingly, investigations over the last century show that almost no one can do this.”
Now the researchers have shown that more than 40 percent of the people they tested were able to solve the nine dots problem after receiving 10 minutes of safe, non-invasive brain stimulation, said a university statement.
They used transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which delivers a constant, low current directly to a brain area on the right side while inhibiting its counterpart on the left, with the help of small electrodes. With its help researchers have previously reported success in amplifying insight and memory.
Snyder suggest that their unique brain stimulation protocol could ultimately enable people to “escape the tricks our minds impose on us,” and solve tasks that appear deceptively simple.
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Tags: brain area, brain stimulation, counterpart, electrodes, insight, investigations, journal neuroscience, memory, neuroscience letters, nine dots, paradigm, protocol, straight lines, sydney march, tdcs, university of sydney