x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Want to be a math whiz? Try electric shocks

Psychologists at the University of Oxford claim that an electric jolt to the brain significantly improves one's ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide.

Quick, what's 9,000+4,000÷2? If it took you more than a second to come up with the answer, or if your first instinct was to reach for a calculator, we've got news for you: you're not very good at maths. Luckily, there may be a solution less painful than arithmetic.

Psychologists at the University of Oxford claim that an electric jolt to the brain significantly improves one's ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide. Better yet, the gain comes with no pain. According to research published last week in the journal Current Biology, the benefits of "transcranial random noise stimulation" are long-lasting - up to six months. Considering that 1 in 5 people are said to have trouble learning basic maths skills, the market for this quick fix is potentially huge.

But for anyone considering this novel approach to learning, we've got another idea. As The National reported yesterday, some centres in the UAE are teaching children to calculate complex sums, in their heads, in fractions of a second. The result is remarkable, as the Dubai Abacus and Mental Arithmetic Competition showed.

The drawback is that you probably need to start training the brain as a child - too late for most of us. So doctor, we're ready for the electrodes.