Your Brain on Electricity: Does It Make You Learn Faster?

A new Vanderbilt study shows that we can manipulate our learning ability with a mild electrical current.
3:54 | 04/17/14

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Transcript for Your Brain on Electricity: Does It Make You Learn Faster?
So what if I told you I can make you learn faster. Com rob Reinhart and on the Ph.D. candidate and and -- literacy in the psychology department. And recently my advisor Jeff Woodman and I published a paper in the journal neuroscience showing that after twenty minutes of pushing and pulling political -- -- We can make people -- after. One thing that we're interested in our laboratory -- is how we monitor our thoughts and behavior. How do we make adjustments to knew him in changing situations and our environment. How do we do that one idea is that we have evolved as a mechanism in our brains. That monitors our behavior proverbial little man -- your head. It was kind of sitting over here behaviors and making judgments and the effects of behavior that we're finding all week. -- -- -- This region of the brain is that we can make you. More accurate on the task overall and make you learn faster and then we can pull her through push -- -- the other direction of current. We can thank -- little -- In your performance after seeing the -- -- so you come into our laboratory on three separate testing day there we're gonna start by. Attaching electrodes behind her yours -- phone called emasculated this just record electrical activity. You'll use one of an asteroid that online reference point for all the other potentials that -- record from the felt. From the electorate that in the -- -- My name's my McClanahan primary research analyst here in this lab. I've participated in from Linda. Pilot trials of this study. And -- gotten the -- put on me and the stimulation in the stimulation itself feels like maybe some light. -- it's not very strong it doesn't hurt at all. And then after twenty minutes of not a basis stimulation you go into our truth and you perform a simple computer game. Task for two hours while we -- electrical brain. Pressing one button when I see a blue square and other but when your friend -- And then I'm certain trials if I see a square pop up in the center of the screen around fixation point that means I shouldn't answer. To make that task harder to ensure that our volunteers and make -- -- so we can measure -- related brain activity and behavior. We impose the response time -- So you had to press that button on that game controller -- and 700 milliseconds and less than 12. So we found that that bi directional effects larger. Monitoring activity in the brain better performance faster learning hand. When you flip the direction. The current -- smaller performance monitoring brain activity slower learning we found that individuals. That showed both those bi directional -- composed of 75%. Of our subjects and the he -- all study was how long -- these attacks last. And we found approximately. They appear to last about five hours after -- -- minutes of stimulation. At one point five -- camps -- and obvious next step would be for patient populations definitely there's a lot of patients with schizophrenia for example alzheimer's disease Huntington's disease -- deficit hyperactivity disorder where. Performance monitoring deficits. Our RT so we just sort of stepped on the visual cognition accelerator just a little in terms of science it's been -- Stick but in terms of the to -- -- applicability of it. For patient population for the average person on the street who wants just kind of boost their mental functions for that like more research has to be gone.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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