The researchers found that electrical noise stimulation of the frontal lobes of the brain improved the mathematical ability of people whose brains were less stimulated (by mathematics) before the stimulation. No improvement in math scores was found in those who had higher levels of brain stimulation during the initial assessment or in the placebo groups. Researchers believe that electrical noise stimulation acts on sodium channels in the brain, interfering with the cell membranes of neurons, causing increased cortical excitability.
Roi Cohen Kadosh, professor of cognitive neuroscience and head of the school of psychology at the University of Surrey, who led the project, said: “Learning is central to everything we do in life – from developing new skills, e.g. Driving a car, learning to code. Our brain is constantly absorbing and acquiring new knowledge.
“Previously, we have shown that a person’s ability to learn is linked to neuronal excitability in their brain. What we wanted to find out in this case is whether our new stimulation protocol can promote this activity, in other words excite and improve mathematical skills.