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February 2, 2015

Could a "thinking cap" help us learn?

Vanderbilt researchers use cap to electrically stimulate learning skills

Many K-12 teachers suggest to students that they should “put your thinking caps on,” and one day, students might just do that for real. Vanderbilt University psychologist Geoffrey Woodman says that’s because scientists are being equipped with more and more tools they can use to better understand the brain, and now, they can even eavesdrop on individual neurons.

Initial support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) allowed Woodman and his team at the Vanderbilt University Visual Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory to study memory and perception. Then, the researchers tested their theory that electrical stimulation of the medial frontal cortex can boost learning and improve decision-making.

The research in this episode was funded by NSF award #0957072, Interactions Between Visual Working Memory Representations and Mechanisms of Perceptual Selection.

Miles O'Brien, Science Nation Correspondent
Marsha Walton, Science Nation Producer

Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations presented in this material are only those of the presenter grantee/researcher, author, or agency employee; and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.