It's known that some athletes and students turn to performance enhancing drugs to up their game. Perhaps there's another way to do that -- by changing brain patterns. And no, I'm not talking about the mind gym fad.
Scientists discovered that brain technology can help people learn new things and it doesn't require much concentration at all. In theory, if a person were to use the new method, he could look into a computer screen and learn a new language.
ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratory and Boston University researchers used brain technology to help people improve their visual performance in areas such as memory, motor, and rehabilitation.
For example, if a person wants to be a good athlete, then his brain pattern should align to those seen in a professional through real-time feedback. Or if a person needs to be treated after an accident, his brain patterns could be changed to match the baseline. That's all in theory for now, but the study shows promising results.
To do this, a person could look at computer screen to obtain a specific activation pattern in their brain. Furthermore, this study found that the subjects improved their performance without actually being aware of what they were learning.
Wait? Really? The experiment used decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to improve the subjects' ability. The subjects also participated in neuro-feedback training so they could match their brain activity to the desired visual performance.
The study was published in the journal Science.
"So we have to test if the method works in other types of learning in the future," ATR's professor Mitsuo Kawato said in a statement. "At the same time, we have to be careful so that this method is not used in an unethical way."
I don't know about you, but learning how to play the piano or learning how to fly a plane without being conscious of it would be absolutely amazing!
[See my robot cat ear interview for more information about brain states are being used in the commercial market].
Sure, Outliers author Malcolm Gladwell suggested that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a pro. However, this latest research could give us a way to cheat.
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Photo here from screenshot of NSF video
Photo on Thumbnail: Flickr/ nayukim