A recent breakthrough study from UT Dallas found that brain nerve stimulation can actually accelerate learning in laboratory tests. Another major finding of the study, published in the April 14 issue of Neuron, involves the positive changes detected after stimulation and learning were complete. Researchers monitoring brain activity in rats found that brain responses eventually returned to their pre-stimulation state, but the animals could still perform the learned task.
The study challenges the old thinking about how we learn. It supports a theory that large-scale brain changes are not directly responsible for learning, but accelerate learning by creating an expanded pool of neurons from which the brain can select the most efficient, small “network” to accomplish the new skill.
What does this mean? Electrical stimulation of specific parts of the brain may help stroke victims and people with brain trauma injuries more quickly gain back motor control. It may also prove to be a method of helping people with learning disorders without medication.
More research obviously is required, however it is fascinating to realize how little we know about the brain and how it works.
On a lighter note, maybe my kids is right when he says he learns better with the headphones blasting!
The full study can be found here.