Improve your math skills by strapping this simple device to your head

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Having a little trouble in your number theory class, or just want to be able to add up a bill in your head? Scientists have discovered they can boost math ability just by applying mild electrical current to your skull.

Image of TDCS via MAPrc.

A study published today in Current Biology explains that researchers strapped small devices that deliver mild electrical current to people's heads near an area of the brain associated with understanding numbers. The electricity could activate more neurons in the region. To do this, they used transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS), targeting the number-centric parietal lobe. Results were immediate. People using TDCS while studying math could comprehend and remember what they'd learned better. The improvements from TDCS-assisted math learning lasted for at least six months.


Oxford neuroscientist Roi Cohen Kadosh worked on the study. He said:

I am certainly not advising people to go around giving themselves electric shocks, but we are extremely excited by the potential of our findings. We've shown before that we can temporarily induce dyscalculia [with another method of brain stimulation], and now it seems we might also be able to make someone better at maths. Electrical stimulation will most likely not turn you into Albert Einstein, but if we're successful, it might be able to help some people to cope better with maths.


TDCS can enhance or block the activity of neurons in the brain, and has been used previously to treat stroke victims and people with other neurological problems. The researchers hope that eventually their discovery can help boost the math skills of people with neurological damage.

via Current Biology