Zap your brain into the zone with tDCS

July 25, 2012 in News Items

zap into the zone with tdcs

Whether you want to smash a forehand like Federer, or just be an Xbox hero, there is a shocking short cut to getting the brain of an expert. It is called tDCS.

I’m close to tears behind my thin cover of sandbags as 20 screaming, masked men run towards me at full speed, strapped into suicide bomb vests and clutching rifles. My attackers are only a video, but I am failing miserably…

Then they put the electrodes on me. I am in a lab in Carlsbad, California, in pursuit of an elusive mental state known as ‘flow’ – that feeling of effortless concentration that characterizes outstanding performance in all kinds of skills.

He sticks the anode – the positive pole – to my temple, and the cathode to my left arm. ‘You’re going to feel a slight tingle’, he says, and warns me that if I remove an electrode and break the connection, the voltage passing through my brain will blind me for a good few seconds. Weisend, who is working on a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency programme to accelerate learning, has been using this form of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) to cut the time it takes to train snipers.