This is such an incredible opportunity for a crowd-sourced neuroscience experiment. Once we can build or buy our own devices, we’ll need a standardized set of problems to test with. If all that data collected to one place… It boggles the imagination!
They gave 28 healthy right-handed participants aged 19-63 the nine-dot problem to solve. Before brain stimulation, 0 out of 22 participants solved the problem. Then they used transcranial direct current stimulation tDCS, which is a safe, non-invasive technique that can increase or decrease cortical excitability and spontaneous neuronal firing in targeted regions. Specifically, they simultaneously decreased excitability of the left anterior temporal lobe ATL while they increased the excitability of the right anterior temporal lobe ATL.
After 10 minutes of right lateralizing tDCS, more than 40 percent of the participants got the problem correct. For contrast, they placed sponge electrodes in the same positions of 11 other participants but they turned off the electrical current after 30 seconds. Therefore, these ‘control’ participants received the exact same experience as those in the active condition but didn’t actually have their brain zapped. None 0/11 of the folks in this placebo condition solved the problem at any point during the experiment.