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Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) is a process of stimulating the brain with magnetic fields that changes/disrupts the way the neurons work. Is it possible to use TMS to unlock "hidden" cognitive skills? According to Professor Allan Snyder, it is. Although it appears the effects might be short-lived, by interfering with the processing of one part of the brain, other parts of the brain become more pronounced. Effectively, this equipment can be used to turn off different parts of the brain and alter mental capabilities. As discussed previously in this forum, this could be used to alter someone's moral decisions. If technology such as this can enhance our mental abilities, should we use it?


It's fascinating to me that music, mathematics are considered the pinnacle of human creativity requiring high intelligence and dedicated practice, focus... but, yet, is that true? Savants smash that. And so if we can get an insight into how they do it, we have an insight into a mind, an insight into creative, and the question is why can't we all do it?" ...Using a revolutionary technology, Snyder asserts that he can artificially turn on anyone's hidden potential by temporarily turning off part of their brain. "Transcranial magnetic stimulating equipment has been able to allow us to have the same skills as savants have."

"...What the TMS does is what I think exists in a savant all the time, is that it gives you privileged access to lower-level, raw, sensory information that's obviously in all of us." Mike's brain now notices the double 'the' because the magnetic stimulation beamed into his left hemisphere has turned off the higher thinking processes located there. This has caused his brain to switch on circuits in the right hemisphere that enable him to see detail more readily. "You can look at the hemispheres as a struggle. There's a kind of tension between them, with the left normally oppressing, or suppressing, the right. And by inhibiting the left, we disinhibit - we free up - the right."

...In each task, Mike exhibits a noticeable improvement as Snyder has found in 40% of his subjects. The magnets' effect are fleeting. Within an hour, Mike's hidden talents will go back into hiding... "I would one day actually like to have a 'thinking cap.' You know, this device that allows us to go against our evolutionary makeup.

On creativity (part II) - excerpt from the National Geographic documentary "My Brilliant Brain"


Original posting by Braincrave Second Life staff on Oct 12, 2010 at http://www.braincrave.com/viewblog.php?id=347

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