Brain Stimulation Can Help Improve Math Skills, Study Finds
Brain stimulation can help people who have trouble understanding math to improve their arithmetic skills.
The researchers gave 102 people a series of complex arithmetic problems, each of which involved multiplying a two-digit number by a single-digit number, such as 16 x 3 = 48.
Half of the study participants were exposed to a low current electric current to stimulate brain cells.
The researchers claim that people who received brain stimulation, as well as those tested in more challenging learning environments, answered questions about twice as fast compared to people whose brains weren’t stimulated.
They reportedly received responses 52% faster.
Brain Cell Activity and Math Problems
But this method only worked for people who had low brain cell activity in an area of the brain called the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex when they were trying to solve math problems.
Previous research shows that these people are the ones who have problems with math.
This suggests that applying electrical current to the brain may help people who are bad at math improve their skills, but may not boost those who are already good at math.
Roy Cohen Kadosh, lead author of the study and professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Surrey, said: “We have discovered how this promising neurostimulation works and under what conditions the stimulation protocol is most effective. This discovery may pave the way for a more appropriate approach in human learning.”
Previous Findings and Learning Conditions
Electrical stimulation has previously been shown to improve memory and learning.
But the new research aims to understand how it works, for whom, and under what learning conditions.
The study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, suggests that people need to be not very good at math as well as solve math problems to benefit from their brain stimulation.
Source: Daily Mail