Spark of Genius? Awakening a Better Brain

How far would you go to improve your focus, memory, or even learning ability? Would you be willing to strap on headgear that delivers electrical shocks to targeted areas of your brain? You may soon have that option. It’s called trans-cranial direct current stimulation, and it’s currently being tested on soldiers and used by gamers, students, and others looking for a cognitive edge. But questions linger: does it work? What are potential long-term effects? And how should it be regulated?

This program is part of the Big Ideas Series, made possible with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

The working memory test sequence is taken from the BBC Earth production, Extraordinary Animals
www.youtube.com/watch?v=zsXP8qeFF6A

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Original Program Date: May 27, 2015
Host: Richard Besser
PARTICIPANTS: Nita A. Farahany, Richard Haier, Michael Weisend

“ROBOT’ by Blanca Li 00:00

Richard Besser’s Introduction. 03:43

Participant Introductions. 08:39

How can you use electricity to enhance the brain? 10:13

Can you make people smarter because of brain plasticity? 16:00

Is short term memory the same as IQ? 19:20

What is the difference between TCDS and TMS? 25:26

The magnetic stimulation has been FDA approved. 28:47

TCDS used to increase the vigilance of drone operators. 31:55

What are the ethical implications of electric brain stimulation? 38:55

Is it cheating to use performance enhancing techniques on tests? 44:00

Demonstration of TMS machine. 49:30

Hacking your brain with Wi-Fi. 53:38

Different spots on the head do different things? 58:14

The scars of experimenting the electrodes. 01:03:03

Should you trust the learning via electrical stimulation? 01:09:37

What will the future look like with these devices? 01:12:32
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