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Old 06-13-2013, 02:34 PM
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one more Pattern Matching

Unlock Your Inner Rain Man by Electrically Zapping Your Brain | Wired Science |

Using brain stimulation, he thinks itís possible to temporarily remove that mental suppression and unlock the savant inside each of us. In their latest study, published in April in Neuroscience Letters, Snyder and graduate student Richard Chi tested peopleís performance on a geometric puzzle called the nine dots problem (right).

The goal is to connect all nine dots using just four straight lines, without lifting your pen up or retracing a line. Itís a classic problem that researchers have been giving people for a century, but in the majority of experiments, no participants are able to solve it, even with plenty of time and many attempts. (If you have tried and failed, hereís the solution.)

Snyder and Chi had their subjects attempt to solve the problem while wearing an electrode cap. After a few minutes without brain stimulation, half of the subjects received stimulation while the other half received no stimulation. Hereís the interesting part: Whereas none of the subjects solved the problem before brain stimulation, more than 40 percent of subjects in the stimulation group solved the problem after being zapped. Talk about being struck by inspiration.

In case youíre imagining some kind of Frankensteinian setup for electrifying peopleís brains, itís nothing like that. The technique, called transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), involves applying a weak electrical current to the scalp through a pair of electrodes on sponges. Itís a widely used technique that is considered safe, with minor side effects. Other researchers have shown cognitive improvements using the same method applied to other brain areas, but Snyder and Chi are the first to use stimulation to mimic savant brain physiology.

Autism, left frontotemporal dementia, and savantism resulting from brain injury have all been associated with deficits in the left hemisphere of the brain. Though the left brain/right brain skill dichotomy is an oversimplification, they do specialize in function, says Treffert. The left brain, which is dominant in most people, is more heavily involved in language and reason, while the right brain plays a bigger role in visuospatial and artistic ability. Scientists theorize that in savants, limitations in left-brain function allow the right brain to compensate. In Snyder and Chiís study, they applied stimulation to suppress brain activity in the left anterior temporal lobe while simultaneously exciting activity in the right anterior temporal lobe.

as a side effect .... of his testing with electricity

ďSigns and symbols rule the world, not words nor laws.Ē -Confucius.

Last edited by MonsieurM; 06-14-2013 at 12:52 AM.
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