Real 'Thinking Cap' May Not Be So Far Off

Magnetic pulse boosts learning, study shows; headgear next?
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2009 2:44 PM CDT
The human brain, viewed from the front, with the premotor cortex highlighted.   (Wikimedia Commons)
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(Newser) – A magnetic pulse directed at a certain area of the brain may enhance learning and memory, the Telegraph reports. Canadian researchers subjected volunteers to a test that required they track a dot moving on a computer screen with a joystick, and volunteers who received stimulation fared much better.

The scientists found that subjects who had a magnetic pulse directed towards the premotor cortex of the brain—the area just above and behind the temples—were significantly better at tracking the dot when it began its repeating movements. That the magnetic pulse improved subjects’ abilities to discern and learn the pattern suggests that scientists may one day develop a “thinking cap” that could deploy such pulses to improve cognition overall.