According to Geoff Brumfiel of npr, although the studies are preliminary, scientists at the University of Oxford in the U.K. have discovered that "stimulating the brain with a very small electrical current through the forehead could boost a student's ability to learn and remember basic mathematics".
All the students had two electrodes stuck to their foreheads, but only half received the tiny electrical signal. The signal was too small to be felt, and even the researchers conducting the tests didn't know who had received a signal and who hadn't.
When they went back and checked, they found that those who had received the stimulation appeared to memorize their sums faster and better than those who hadn't. Moreover, the effect seemed to last for six months after the stimulation. But it wasn't as strong.
Researchers aren't quite sure how it works, but co-author author Thompson says that the electrical signal may get brain cells synchronized: "Kind of like if you have eight rowers in a boat, if they're all rowing together they go faster," she says.
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