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Electrical Stimulation of the Brain


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#1 Fluffy

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Posted 04 November 2010 - 09:53 PM

Check out this link. I wonder if the same technique can be applied to improve social skills, especially given this recent research? ;) Hopefully some uni's will get sufficient funding to research if there are any benefits to people on the spectrum.

#2 Mumble

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Posted 05 November 2010 - 10:50 AM

I am likely to be modded if I say exactly what I think about this research... ;) It is flawed and quite ridiculous in sooooooo many ways. :wacko:

#3 coolblue

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 04:34 PM

Why? (Not trying to lure you into being modded, just curious.)

cb

#4 call me jaded

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Posted 06 November 2010 - 04:54 PM

Mumble you're welcome to say what you think as long as it's phrased reasonably politely!

#5 KezT

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 04:11 PM

Apart from the fact that we are playing with our brains in the same way as the 18th & 19th century quacks played with their patients bodies (ie: they have very little idea o9f wat they are doing and are just poking and prodding to see what happens, without any real understanding of what they are doing to the person as a whole :unsure: ), the problem I see with this particular study is the temporary nature of the improvement

#6 Karen A

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 05:21 PM

Apart from the fact that we are playing with our brains in the same way as the 18th & 19th century quacks played with their patients bodies (ie: they have very little idea o9f wat they are doing and are just poking and prodding to see what happens, without any real understanding of what they are doing to the person as a whole :unsure: ), the problem I see with this particular study is the temporary nature of the improvement


I thought I would just say.I do not have a strong opinion on the issue.However unlike in the 18th and 19th century when some experiments were barbaric there are certain standards for research now. :)

Karen.

#7 coolblue

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 07:16 PM

Apart from the fact that we are playing with our brains in the same way as the 18th & 19th century quacks played with their patients bodies (ie: they have very little idea o9f wat they are doing and are just poking and prodding to see what happens, without any real understanding of what they are doing to the person as a whole :unsure: ), the problem I see with this particular study is the temporary nature of the improvement



I think in this case, we have a fairly good idea of what's happening. The parietal lobes are heavily involved in the processing of spatial information, and spatial information appears to underpin numeracy. Neurons transmit information via tiny electrical currents, so stimulating them is quite likely to enhance or diminish performance. This technique might be useful, not so much in improving the mathematical skill of people who aren't good at maths, but stimulating activity in neurons damaged by a stroke, for example.

It's important not to confuse the research with whacky reports about it in the media.

cb

#8 Mumble

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 09:28 PM

The parietal lobes are heavily involved in the processing of spatial information, and spatial information appears to underpin numeracy.

Yes, but did the assessment of numeracy/mathematics (I won't go into a debate about definitions of the two here... :whistle:) really assess attainment and gains in mathematics i.e. was this a valid test? The test, as far as I can make out from the reports (I haven't read the original research so I may be missing something), involved people learning abstract symbols which represented different numbers and then answering questions about which of two presented symbols was bigger (i.e. which represented a bigger number). Is this not more about either memory or about symbolic processing (and so more related to language acquisition)? Surely the mathematics involved, comparing two numbers (once you've translated the symbols) isn't being improved because this is already at a very basic level? :unsure: Why not use a standardised mathematics test of which several exist? Why not use the number system that the participants would be using in their everyday lives?

#9 Fluffy

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Posted 08 November 2010 - 11:50 PM

To those who want to investigate this further check out the science paper here.

Mumble, I also wondered about the testing method, however the linked report does justify the method very well. The science is sound and very promising imo.

#10 coolblue

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 08:03 AM

Yes, but did the assessment of numeracy/mathematics (I won't go into a debate about definitions of the two here... :whistle:) really assess attainment and gains in mathematics i.e. was this a valid test? The test, as far as I can make out from the reports (I haven't read the original research so I may be missing something), involved people learning abstract symbols which represented different numbers and then answering questions about which of two presented symbols was bigger (i.e. which represented a bigger number). Is this not more about either memory or about symbolic processing (and so more related to language acquisition)? Surely the mathematics involved, comparing two numbers (once you've translated the symbols) isn't being improved because this is already at a very basic level? :unsure: Why not use a standardised mathematics test of which several exist? Why not use the number system that the participants would be using in their everyday lives?



I think your point about definitions is key here. Although the findings have implications for mathematics, numerical ability, spatial ability, memory and symbolic associations, those are secondary issues. The point of the paper (thanks to Fluffy for the link btw) was that a non-invasive technique could improve a specific cognitive process. Whether that process is involved in mathematics, numerical ability or symbolic associations would depend on how you define those things. The problem with using an extant number system or a standard mathematical test is that the operations involved are complex and it would be difficult to isolate the variables. Using a simple, novel abstract task gets round those problems.

cb

#11 Karen A

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 04:58 PM

I think your point about definitions is key here. Although the findings have implications for mathematics, numerical ability, spatial ability, memory and symbolic associations, those are secondary issues. The point of the paper (thanks to Fluffy for the link btw) was that a non-invasive technique could improve a specific cognitive process. Whether that process is involved in mathematics, numerical ability or symbolic associations would depend on how you define those things. The problem with using an extant number system or a standard mathematical test is that the operations involved are complex and it would be difficult to isolate the variables. Using a simple, novel abstract task gets round those problems.

cb


Hi.I do wonder how easy it would be to replicate these results with people with ASD or children.Although with the'' students'' the process was none invasive as a parent of a child with AS I cannot imagine it being an easy process.Ben does not like the hairdressers,dentist or optician.I would have to see excellent results to justify the stress of having electrodes attached to his head and a mild electric current passed through.On top of which people with ASD are known to be upsett by sensory experiences that are not noticed by many individuals, who is to say they will not find the experience really unpleasant.

This study involved 15 people which is hardly a large sample.


Karen.




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