Some interesting finds from the tDCS SubReddit

Ranza, over at the tDCS SubReddit has a tDCS device and has found the perfect online resource for running tests. The Cambridge Brain Science website. One of their stated goals is:

To provide a web-based platform for the controlled assessment of cognitive function in targeted groups of individuals for the purposes of scientific investigation, including clinical and pharmaceutical trials. The Cambridge Brain Sciences platform has recently been used by a major pharmaceutical company to conduct an entirely web-based trial of a novel compound. Clinical trials involving various patient groups are also underway.

(Would like to know more about this ‘novel compound’.) And here’s an example of one of the tests.

The Odd One Out task differers from Raven’s and Cattell’s intelligence tests as the problems are generated on the fly using a complex set of algorithms. Due to this on the fly generation, and the ability of the task to generate many tens of thousands of novel problems, the task is suitable for training reasoning abilities or taking many repeated measures as the participants cannot learn the answers to specific problems by rote. Instead, they must solve a novel set of problems each time they undertake the task.

This seems to me the perfect solution for a standardized set of tests to measure our performance while using tDCS devices. What remains is some sort of methodology for setting up the electrodes. PS. I don’t own a tDCS device yet.

Start Testing Now!

I think that for me, the thing to do now that I’ve found, even before I have a tDCS device, is to see if I can affect my test score outcomes using a variety of ‘brain hacks’. For example, this list from Jonah Lehrer Jonah also mentions in various podcasts I’ve listened to around the release of his latest book, “Imagine, How Creativity Works” that both cannabis and alcohol can improve performance on certain kinds of challenges. (Those benefiting from an active right hemisphere.) Imagine having tested sufficiently to be able to state, for instance, that: Under the influence of two 12oz bottles of Guinness consumed within a period of 30 minutes, I was able to increase my Monkey Ladder score by a solid 10%.

From the same Jonah Lehrer Wired article…

When it’s looked in all the obvious places to no avail, you experience mental deadlock. This is a signal to the brain that a new search process is required.

2. Brain activity now shifts to the right hemisphere. According to neuroscientist Mark Beeman, this side is responsible for seeing the big picture. Now you can grasp subtle connotations — the punchline of a joke or the meaning of a metaphor. The switch allows you to explore unexpected associations and perspectives.

3. Thirty seconds before your “aha” moment, there is a sudden burst of brain activity called a “gamma-wave rhythm” which, says Beeman, is the highest electrical frequency generated by the brain. It comes from neurons forming new connections. The spurt of activity comes from the anterior superior temporal gyrus, located on the right hemisphere, just above the ear.