Can random noise unleash our learning potential?

Summary: Transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) may be a useful tool in enhancing learning rates in those with limited learning abilities.

source: Edith Cowan University

Although many of us may be looking for a quiet place to study, “noise” can play a major role in helping some people improve their learning potential.

Edith Cowan University (ECU) has investigated the effects of transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) in a variety of settings and found that the technology could have many applications.

Despite its name, tRNS does not use noise in the everyday auditory sense of the word.

Instead, he sees electrodes attached to the head so that a weak current can pass through certain parts of the brain.

Study leader Dr Ono van der Groen said the study showed tRNS is promising as a tool to help people with impaired learning abilities.

“The effect on learning is promising: It can speed learning and help people with neurological conditions,” said Dr. van der Groen.

“So people with learning disabilities can use it to improve the rate of learning, for example.

It has also been tried on people with visual impairments, such as stroke and traumatic brain injury.

“When you add that kind of motivation while you’re learning, you get better performance, faster learning, and better attention afterwards as well.”

Forging new paths

Dr. van der Groen said tRNS works by allowing the brain to form new connections and pathways, a process known as neuroplasticity.

“If you learn something, there must be changes in the neuroplastics in your brain, allowing you to learn that information,” he said.

“And this is a tool to enhance this neuroplasticity.”

Dr. van der Groen said tRNS has two effects on the brain: the “sharp” effect, which allows a person to perform better while undergoing tRNS, and a modulating effect that has seen lasting results.

“If you do 10 sessions of the visual perception task with tRNS and then go back and do it again without it, you will find that you do better than the control group who didn’t use it,” he said.

Unlimited potential?

The idea of ​​extending learning capabilities through technology such as tRNS raises many questions.

While it is relevant for those with learning disabilities and deficiencies, it also raises the question of whether a person with a neurotype can take their intelligence to new levels, similar to the concept in the movie. “no limits”.

Dr. van der Groen says the potential is there, but there are also signs that it won’t create a “new level” of intelligence.

“The question is, if you’re the nervous type, do you really perform at your peak,” he said.

This indicates the outline of the head
Dr. van der Groen said tRNS works by allowing the brain to form new connections and pathways, a process known as neuroplasticity. The image is in the public domain

“There is a case study in which they tried to enhance the mathematical skills of a super mathematician; with him, it had little effect on his performance, perhaps because he is already the best performer in the field.

“But it can be used if you are learning something new.”

Where are you going

Although the technology is still in its infancy and people can only access tRNS by entering controlled trials, Dr. van der Groen said the apparent practicality and safety mean there is a lot of potential for a range of applications.

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“The concept is relatively simple,” he said.

“It’s like a battery: the current runs from positive to minus, but it also goes through your head.

“We are working on a study where we send equipment to people, and they implement everything themselves remotely.

“So in that respect, it’s very easy to use.”

Scientists around the world are also studying the effects of tRNS on cognition, working memory, sensory processing and other aspects of behavior, with the technology emerging as a treatment for a range of clinical conditions.

“We are still trying to figure out how best to use it,” said Dr. van der Groen.

About this auditory neuroscience and learn research news

author: Sam Jeremic
source: Edith Cowan University
Contact: Sam Jeremic – Edith Cowan University
picture: The image is in the public domain

original search: Access closed.
Using noise for better: Effects of random transcranial noise stimulation on the brain and behaviorWritten by Dr. Van der Groen et al. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews


Summary

Using noise for better: Effects of random transcranial noise stimulation on the brain and behavior

Transcranial random noise stimulation (tRNS) is a non-invasive method of electrical brain stimulation increasingly used in studies of human brain function and behavior, in health and disease. tRNS are effective in acutely modulating cognition and can improve learning.

By contrast, their effectiveness in modulating higher-order cognitive processes is variable. Prolonged stimulation with tRNS, either as a longer application or multiple shorter applications, may engage resilience mechanisms that can lead to long-term benefits.

Here we provide an overview of the current understanding of the effects of tRNS on brain and behavior and provide some specific recommendations for future research.

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