Passing small electric currents through the brain can lead to
increased academic performance and boost people's learning, a
study has said.
Known as "Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation", the method has
earlier been used to treat cognitive impairment among stroke and
brain injury patients and those with learning difficulties, the
Experts from the University of Oxford's Department of Experimental
Psychology conducted experiments on healthy volunteers and checked
how well they performed in mathematical problem solving and
linguistic tasks before and after undergoing the shock treatment.
Electrodes were strapped to the head to deliver small electric
currents to certain parts of the brain for short bursts up to 20
Results showed the treatment improved the volunteers' vision,
decision-making, problem-solving, mathematical, language, memory,
and attention capabilities.
The positive effects can last up to 12 months, the researchers
"The idea is to stimulate the brain in order to make it easier to
learn new information such as maths. What we find with adults is
that the improvement is not only in maths but actually in
language, attention and decision making - they not only become
better for a short time, but for long periods," said Roi Cohen
Kadosh, who led the research.
He, however, said it was "not a magic pill like you might find in
"It's not going to make you Einstein in one day. You still need to
work hard, but together with that it makes an enhancement to your
The research -- published in the journal Current Biology -- said
there were no apparent negative side effects if the the treatment
is applied correctly.