Researchers at HRL Laboratories have discovered that when you use transcranial direct current stimulation to send the brain activity of commercial and military pilots into the heads of novice pilots subjects can essentially learn to fly in a realistic flight simulator.
The study, found that subjects who received brain stimulation via electrode-embedded head caps improved their piloting abilities. “We measured the average g-force of the plane during the simulated landing and compared it to control subjects who received a mock brain stimulation, ” says Phillips.
Dr. Matthew Phillips and his team from HRL’s Sciences Laboratory said “We measured the brain activity patterns of six commercial and military pilots, and then transmitted these patterns into novice subjects as they learned to pilot an airplane in a realistic flight simulator.”
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While previous research has demonstrated that tDCS can both help patients more quickly recover from a stroke and boost a healthy person’s creativity, HRL’s study is one of the first to show that tDCS is effective in accelerating practical learning. Phillips speculates that the potential to increase learning with brain stimulation may make this form of accelerated learning commonplace.
“As we discover more about optimizing, personalizing, and adapting brain stimulation protocols, we’ll likely see these technologies become routine in training and classroom environments, ” he says. “It’s possible that brain stimulation could be implemented for classes like drivers’ training, SAT prep, and language learning.”