cold fjord writes: The Wall Street Journal reports, "In a lab in Oxford University's experimental psychology department, researcher Roi Cohen Kadosh is testing an intriguing treatment: He is sending low-dose electric current through the brains of adults and children as young as 8 to make them better at math. A relatively new brain-stimulation technique called transcranial electrical stimulation may help people learn and improve their understanding of math concepts. The electrodes are placed in a tightly fitted cap and worn around the head. The device, run off a 9-volt battery... induces only a gentle current... Up to 6% of the population is estimated to have a math-learning disability called developmental dyscalculia, similar to dyslexia but with numerals instead of letters. Many more people say they find math difficult.... Whether transcranial electrical stimulation proves to be a useful cognitive enhancer remains to be seen.... Dr. Cohen Kadosh first thought about the possibility as a university student... he conducted an experiment using transcranial magnetic stimulation... He found that he could temporarily turn off regions of the brain known to be important for cognitive skills. When the parietal lobe of the brain was stimulated... the basic arithmetic skills of doctoral students... were reduced to a level similar to those with developmental dyscalculia.
We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a
clever but highly unmotivated trick.
-- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"