Electric 'Thinking Cap' Tested in Australia

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So, the theory goes, when participants were given a riddle that required them to look at one organization of matchsticks and create a new pattern out of them, they did it more easily if researchers got the left brain "out of the way" by suppressing it with electric current, while boosting the right brain with a different kind of current.

And it worked.

But this doesn't mean that an actual thinking cap that you would strap on your head when you needed to be extra creative is in the cards, Boulis warns.

"They're using technology to look at how the brain works," says Boulis. "The real significance of this is that it provides support for the idea that the left temporal lobe function tends to utilize well-trodden path of problem solving and has a hard time jumping out of that pattern."

While it's fun to speculate about whether this gets us closer to being able to control which side of brain is dominant, such a possibility is "very unlikely" in the near future, he says. "But with this type of technology you can imagine a future in which this type of approach might be feasible."

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