Stimulated Learning

Neuronal connexions

The latest development in learning? It’s literally SHOCKING!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

When you’re learning something new, your brain starts firing electrical pulses. These signals help you track and record information. But – does it work in reverse? Could a jolt of electricity help you learn faster?

Enter Fernando Llanos and researchers from University of Pittsburgh and University of California, San Francisco. They monitored about forty volunteers as they learned Mandarin Chinese. Each participant had a small device, like a hearing aid, attached to their ear. Through this device, the team could send electrical signals to their brain.

Don’t worry. These little zaps were so small, volunteers barely noticed them! While learning words, some got buzzed, others did not.

And? Nerve stimulation JUMP-STARTED learning! Those boosted by an electrical signal identified differences in sounds and tones more easily. They did TEN PERCENT better! Stimulated volunteers also showed faster initial learning and better memory.

So the next time you’re learning a new language, make sure you’re properly stimulated!

And don’t forget to plug in your charger.

Llanos, F., McHaney, J. R., Schuerman, W. L., Yi, H. G., Leonard, M. K., & Chandrasekaran, B. (2020). Non-invasive peripheral nerve stimulation selectively enhances speech category learning in adults. Npj Science of Learning, 5(1).