‘Thinking cap’ makes brain waves in Australia

By Agence France-Presse
Thursday, February 10, 2011 8:31 EDT
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SYDNEY – Scientists in Australia say they are encouraged by initial results of a revolutionary “thinking cap” that aims to promote creativity by passing low levels of electricity through the brain.

The device, which consists of two conductors fastened to the head by a rubber strap, significantly boosted results in a simple arithmetic test, they said.

Three times as many people who wore the “thinking cap” were able to complete the test, compared to those who did not use the equipment. Sixty people took part in total.

Allan Snyder, director of the University of Sydney’s Centre for the Mind, said the device worked by suppressing the left side of the brain, associated with knowledge, and stimulating the right side, linked to creativity.

“You wouldn’t use this to study or to help your memory,” Snyder told AFP. “You would use this if you wanted to look at a problem anew.

“If you wanted to look at the world, just briefly, with a child’s view, if you wanted to look outside the box.”

He said goal was to suppress mental templates gathered through life experiences to help users see problems and situations as they really appear, rather than through the prism of earlier knowledge.

Snyder added that the work was inspired by accident victims who experienced a sudden surge in creativity after damaging the left side of their brains.

“We know that from certain types of brain damage and abnormalities or injuries, people who suddenly have damage to the left temporal lobe will burst out in the arts or other types of creative activities,” he said.

Snyder said the device had been in use by scientists for a decade, but this was the first study into how current passing through the brain could amplify insight.

He said the “thinking cap” had potential applications in the arts and problem-solving, although the science remained in its infancy.

“The dream is that one day we may be able to stimulate the brain in a particular way to give you, just momentarily, an unfiltered view of the world,” Snyder said.

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  • Anonymous

    Sure – run electricity into your brain, but don’t smoke pot.

  • Anonymous

    Hey tories, to make up for your lower IQ’s, go stick your head in a microwave oven and place the setting on “Frozen Vegetables.”

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/EHJJXSTSSOCXLTSQBUVIDYUF7M Dave

    The reason the left owns the culture is because of the many artists, writers, musicians, etc that are liberals.

    Anybody see “The Half Hour News Hour” ? It was a pathetic attempt by conservatives to be creative. The reason we watch Ed Wood’s movies is because they are so bad they are good. The Half Hour News Hour was that bad and it still wasn’t good.

  • Anonymous

    My favorite cartoon titled “Thinking Outside the Box,” above the drawing. The drawing is of a guy sitting in a chair pondering a box sitting before him and he has a thought bubble, “I wonder what’s inside the box.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_Q7G2NHLD62L3CDU7VHFZ4QPVQM Unknown

    I can see the future Now.
    “Hey what you wearing Bob?” “Oh it’s just my new BZZZZZ! Ow! thinking cap.
    “Gee Bob it looks painful”
    “Yeah but it’s so worth the price of making me smarter. In fact it helped me realize what an idiot I was to buy it was in the first place”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Thomas-Lee-Brown/1522418996 Thomas Lee Brown

    I know a way to dampen your discursive mind, suppress templates and open yourself up to looking at problems from another viewpoint.

    And it’s really easy to grow and costs practically nothing.

    I’m just unclear on how suppressing the knowledge areas and enhancing the creative improves an arithmetic challenge.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder if these scientists are old enough to remember the Hawthorne Experiment.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/2CDWIFBAEAK2R3FP6O3UXNVTJQ kjhkngjnhkj f

    Maybe they could hand them out to the Republicans? Amirite?

    Am I right, folks?

  • Mr. Neutron

    Three times as many people who wore the “thinking cap” were able to complete the test, compared to those who did not use the equipment.

    It didn’t say that the dumbasses who volunteered to be guinea pigs for “scientists in Australia” did well on the test, just that they completed it:

  • Sarcasmlost

    I think the last thing we want is “creativity” in Republican problem solving.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/KHUGSYMRDZ635QMFO5P6UA5MTM nunya

    Sounds shocking.

  • Robert Shaftoe

    So this is what all the, ahem, BUZZ is about. (rim-shot)

  • Anonymous

    Can Sarah Palin get the 1st one ?

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ hounddogg

    it only works if you have a brain…

  • http://twitter.com/btmfdrsheaven rebecca meritt

    Tasers work to change your mind,with or without the cap. Helps you put 2&2 together.

  • Anonymous

    Cancervative reslugliCONs have had a “lying cap” for generations.