Electric Shocks to Brain will Improve Maths Skills – Facts Analysis

Picture: Electric Shocks to Brain will Improve Maths Skills
Electric Shocks to Brain will Improve Maths Skills


If you electrically shock a person’s brain their maths skills will significantly improve during the subsequent 6 months.

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Want to improve your Math skills without working hard? Simply zap the brain with a weak current of electricity and voila, all your (math) problems will be solved.


The messages claim that one can significantly improve their brain activity and maths skills by a simple electric shock of weak current. It is a fact, but has to be strictly done under the guidance of expert doctors.

The process is called Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) and involves applying weak electrical currents (low DC current) to a person’s head via skalp electrodes. This generates an electromagnetic field that modulates (regulates) the activity of brain neurons. The changes in brain activity depends on the polarity of stimulation, i.e orientation of the electric field to the brain neurons. The positive Anodal (+) stimulation causes a depolarization of the resting membrane potential, thereby increasing the neuronal excitability, which allows for more spontaneous cell firing. When negative Cathodal (-) stimulation is delivered, it causes a hyperpolarization of the resting membrane potential, which decreases the neuron excitability because of decreased spontaneous cell firing.

Numerous studies on tDCS verify that use of low-intensity transcranial stimulation is safe for humans and has only rare and relatively minor adverse effects. tDCS is believed to be more effective when used in conjunction with fMRI, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) or centrally acting drugs. An extensive study on this Cranial Electrotherapy done by a scientific team comprising of US Mind Research found that tDCS guided using fMRI significantly accelerated the learning process of identifying concealed objects. The study found that tDCS applied over right inferior frontal and right parietal cortex parts of the human brain resulted in up to two-fold improvement in learning and performance. The scientists also believe that tDCS guided using neuroimaging can be helpful in reducing the training time for a variety of complex skills.

Another study done by scientists from the University of Oxford has shown that transcranial stimulation can improve a person’s math abilities for up to six months. The study consisted of patients who were on TDCS, and they showed an improved ability to order numbers. Presently, tDCS is being investigated for treating variety of other conditions like stroke recovery, depression and migraine.

But importantly, NO scientist advised people to go around, plug into a wall socket and get themselves electric shocks. It could be hazardous. The scientists hope to develop a device that would provide an appropriate amount of electric current to brain, and have even filed a patent on such a device. However, the scientists also mention that such a device will not make a person better at maths instantly, the person also has to put in significant amount of effort.

Hoax or Fact:



Zapping the brain improves maths skills
Transcranial direct current stimulation
Transcranial direct current stimulation – Information
TDCS guided using fMRI significantly accelerates learning

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Prashanth Damarla