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Can Electric Current Make People Better At Math?

Soulskill posted about 7 months ago | from the i-bet-it-can-make-them-worse dept.

Math 112

cold fjord sends this excerpt from the Wall Street Journal: "In a lab in Oxford University's experimental psychology department, researcher Roi Cohen Kadosh is testing an intriguing treatment: He is sending low-dose electric current through the brains of adults and children as young as 8 to make them better at math. A relatively new brain-stimulation technique called transcranial electrical stimulation may help people learn and improve their understanding of math concepts. The electrodes are placed in a tightly fitted cap and worn around the head. ... The mild current reduces the risk of side effects, which has opened up possibilities about using it, even in individuals without a disorder, as a general cognitive enhancer. Scientists also are investigating its use to treat mood disorders and other conditions. ... Up to 6% of the population is estimated to have a math-learning disability called developmental dyscalculia, similar to dyslexia but with numerals instead of letters. [In an earlier experiment, Kadosh] found that he could temporarily turn off regions of the brain known to be important for cognitive skills. When the parietal lobe of the brain was stimulated using that technique, he found that the basic arithmetic skills of doctoral students who were normally very good with numbers were reduced to a level similar to those with developmental dyscalculia. That led to his next inquiry: If current could turn off regions of the brain making people temporarily math-challenged, could a different type of stimulation improve math performance?"

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yes (4, Funny)

schwit1 (797399) | about 7 months ago | (#46233639)

It's called negative feedback. Up the amps.

Re:yes (3, Funny)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 7 months ago | (#46233655)

A shocking discovery.

Re:yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233721)

Suck, suck, suck a duck--

Screw a kangaroo,

Finger-bang an orang-utan,

Life is but a zoo!
 

p.s. FUCK BETA

Re:yes (0)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about 7 months ago | (#46233737)

This is just what I came here to say.:)
I bet I can make just about anyone better at math with a simple tazer, and the promise of more tazings in the future if they don't improve.

Can I get a grant to study this? 5 Million a year for 10 years should answer the question definitively. A bargain at twice the price...

Re:yes (2)

jxander (2605655) | about 7 months ago | (#46233929)

The beatings will continue, until grades improve!

Re:yes (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233839)

Resistance is futile.

Re:yes (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233999)

Resistance is futile.

No. Resistance is the point. If the subject has no resistance, he won't feel the shock as no energy is dissipated in his body.

Re:yes (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 7 months ago | (#46234185)

Sounds useless.

Re:yes (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 7 months ago | (#46234135)

Nobody expects the Mathic Inquisition!

Re:yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46236869)

Yes sir, may I have another!?!?!?

Next step (4, Funny)

jxander (2605655) | about 7 months ago | (#46233643)

The next logical step, of course, is increasing the voltage whenever someone gets an answer wrong.

What could possibly go wrong? [wikipedia.org]

National Stasi of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233863)

The next logical step, of course, is increasing the voltage whenever someone gets an answer wrong.

Do you work for them?

Oh, and fuck beta!

Re:National Stasi of America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46237495)

Do you work for the WOOSH Corps of WOOSHington, D.C.? Oh, and fuck off with your offtopic shit.

Re:Next step (3, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#46233885)

Except this isn't premised on reward and punishment. This is aimed at altering the way the brain processes information, how the brain functions, to make it better able to work with math.

Re:Next step (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 7 months ago | (#46235771)

Why just limit the testing to one mode? Go for both volts and amps!

Re:Next step (0)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 7 months ago | (#46236289)

Whoosh. Also, zap.

Re:Next step (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 7 months ago | (#46237147)

This is aimed at altering the way the brain processes information, how the brain functions, to make it better able to work with math.

In other words: it's kind of like a variation on ECT/Electroconvulsive Shock Therapy, minus the Convulsions and pain by using low current.

The objective is still to change the brain's function. Different people may react to it differently. It is not clear if: in the long term it will be safe.

The method is still a bit crude -- imprecise and primitive: applying random electrical currents to the body. Which seems to be a continuous fad: I mean, folks, even came up with "Tens Units" for pain management, and various other electrical stimulators as a supposed physical exercise replacement.

Re:Next step (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46234219)

Something wonderful might also happen, either way. [youtube.com]

I shit you not (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233645)

Beta gives me the runs.

Electricity? Use more honey! (1)

mveloso (325617) | about 7 months ago | (#46233651)

"Use more honey! Find out what she knows!"
- John W.

maybe, but . . . (4, Insightful)

djupedal (584558) | about 7 months ago | (#46233665)

'better at math' seems a bit vague. Better at algebra, maybe, but many who suffer from dyscalculia excel at higher math, example string theory. We don't need more individuals that are ok w/algebra, so the value here is more about trying to better understand the brain than about helping people get jobs working the register at a food truck.

Re:maybe, but . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233973)

Serious question: What problems do you think would come about if everybody was good at math.

Re:maybe, but . . . (2)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 7 months ago | (#46234101)

Well, the government lotteries would all go out of business. Vegas would be in trouble....

Re:maybe, but . . . (2)

skids (119237) | about 7 months ago | (#46235401)

People might start to demand more statistically valid electoral recounts.

Re:maybe, but . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46236151)

People would be better able to check, if the loan is actually payable and what all that bullshit the bank is telling them is. The banks would go bankrupt.

Re:maybe, but . . . (2)

paskie (539112) | about 7 months ago | (#46233989)

Reference needed wrt. "many who suffer from dyscalculia excel at higher math". Not understanding basic numbers and algebra like fractions means that you simply never have much chance to progress to anything higher and interesting. Especially if your first few teachers are incompetent. And without the technical skill and gained routine, it's quite difficult to acquire intuition about how many pieces of higher math work.

Also, algebra is important for many other areas of science - biology, chemisty, any lab work; mixing solutions, configuring equipment, basic statistics, ... Discalculia means you have big trouble distinguishing between 10 and 100 or comparing 0.32 and 0.23 - you can't (at least easily) build an intuition for it and you have to always fall back to high-level reasoning and logic to work through it. It's possible to make a carreer in natural sciences with discalculia, but it requires huge motivation and effort.

(I have been intensely teaching someone with discalculia for some time. It's one of the disabilities that's difficult to appreciate without experience.)

Re:maybe, but . . . (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 7 months ago | (#46234805)

I wonder if the growing use of calculators in education is making the problem worse. I know I've read commentary that students have less of a grasp of the numbers these days that in the past would have developed by working the problems by hand. I think that working with slide rules developed a better feel for the numbers. Of course it would probably be cruel and unusual punishment for people to be subjected to slide rules these days.

Re:maybe, but . . . (1)

Rich0 (548339) | about 7 months ago | (#46235307)

I wonder if the growing use of calculators in education is making the problem worse. I know I've read commentary that students have less of a grasp of the numbers these days that in the past would have developed by working the problems by hand.

What do numbers have to do with math? :) Once you get into anything moderately advanced actual decimal representations of numbers become less and less important. I doubt I could rattle off the digits of e, but I can marvel that e^(i*pi)=-1.

Re: maybe, but . . . (2)

Dzimas (547818) | about 7 months ago | (#46235869)

As a child, I spent agonizing hours fighting to do long division and multiplication by hand. More often than not, I ended up with the wrong answer and came to believe that I "wasn't good at math" simply because of mild dyscalculia. It wasn't until I was older -- and allowed to use a calculator or PC -- that I discovered that my failures were simple mental processing errors ttjat could be overcome with help from technology. So, yes, on one hand I still stumble when performing elementary calculations by hand. On the other, I spend my days optimizing DSP algorithms. Thank goodness I have a computer to do the menial tasks.

Re:maybe, but . . . (1)

volmtech (769154) | about 7 months ago | (#46235297)

I feel your pain. I helped my daughter with her math homework every night her senior year. Tears, lots of tears. An otherwise straight student she couldn't add two simple fractions much less graph a function with negative numbers. When cooking if she wants to double a recipe she uses an app on her smart phone. If it involves more numbers than that she will open up her laptop and use Excel. She got a cosmology degree and works full time.

Re:maybe, but . . . (1)

paskie (539112) | about 7 months ago | (#46235445)

Wow, that's awesome! But doesn't cosmology involve a lot of mathematics, actually quite crazy stuff? How did she get through that?

Re: maybe, but . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46235621)

No way in hell someone that terrible at math did anything remotely mathematical. OP is a neckbeard, or by "cosmology" the person means undergraduate (I.e trivial ).

Re:maybe, but . . . (1)

volmtech (769154) | about 7 months ago | (#46235655)

She's cosmetologist ( Hairdresser), I feel stupid. :(.

Re:maybe, but . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46236287)

On the bright side that job is less likely to be outsourced to China/India/wherever.

Not much benefit nowadays being a slow and very expensive calculator.

That said it is still very important to know the difference between big and small numbers. And it is useful to have a feel for whether something gets bigger or smaller and by roughly how much when you do various common math functions on it.

Re:maybe, but . . . (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 7 months ago | (#46234321)

many who suffer from dyscalculia excel at higher math, example string theory

lolnope lolnope lolnope
1 lolnope for using "dyscalculia" to describe idiots who can't understand basic math.
1 lolnope for claiming that many such dullards excel at "higher math".
1 lolnope for claiming that string theory is "higher math" - it's fucking wankery without rigor and without testing.

Re:maybe, but . . . (1)

khallow (566160) | about 7 months ago | (#46236161)

1 lolnope for claiming that string theory is "higher math" - it's fucking wankery without rigor and without testing.

Lack of rigor just means there will be a lot of drama when the day of reckoning comes. It doesn't preclude something from being higher math. And "testing" is completely irrelevant to most higher math.

Re:maybe, but . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46235861)

"many who suffer from dyscalculia excel at higher math, example string theory": I don't think so, not many people excel at higher math, whatever else they may be suffering from.

Re:maybe, but . . . (1)

gIobaljustin (3526197) | about 7 months ago | (#46236627)

Better at solving arbitrary problems and performing calculations that are spelled out for you, most likely. Better at innovating and actually understanding what you're doing, though? No.

I've got a better line of inquiry. (4, Interesting)

Valdrax (32670) | about 7 months ago | (#46233733)

That led to his next inquiry: If current could turn off regions of the brain making people temporarily math-challenged, could a different type of stimulation improve math performance?

Here's one. What's the long-term effect of using TCMS during development? Strengthening of the affected areas or weakening thereof / dependency on the stimulation?

Re:I've got a better line of inquiry. (1)

Zordak (123132) | about 7 months ago | (#46234551)

That led to his next inquiry: If current could turn off regions of the brain making people temporarily math-challenged, could a different type of stimulation improve math performance?

Here's one. What's the long-term effect of using TCMS during development? Strengthening of the affected areas or weakening thereof / dependency on the stimulation?

I believe the Walt Disney Company explored these issues extensively in their excellent documentary [wikipedia.org] on the subject.

Thinking cap? (1)

sunyjim (977424) | about 7 months ago | (#46233735)

If this is possible can we call it a "thinking cap" then my grade 3 teacher will have sounded a little less crazy!

Re:Thinking cap? (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 7 months ago | (#46233871)

Why not just wire fucking solar cells to our brains. Then we can get a energy tax credit AND O-care coverage! Add that up!

Re:Thinking cap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233955)

That's especially true if you live in Germany... but not that much in the US...
(http://news.slashdot.org/story/13/02/08/1314220/fox-news-us-solar-energy-investment-less-than-germany-because-us-has-less-sun)

Re:Thinking cap? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 7 months ago | (#46235033)

Funny that you say that. My third grade teacher actually was crazy. Middle of the school year she went on "leave". She was kind of a female version of Mr Garrison, except without the gender issues (as far as I know).

And yes, she also told us to put on our "thinking caps". Problem is, hers was screwed on a little too tight.

Well, that makes sense... (5, Funny)

Kjella (173770) | about 7 months ago | (#46233749)

[In an earlier experiment, Kadosh] found that he could temporarily turn off regions of the brain known to be important for cognitive skills. When the parietal lobe of the brain was stimulated using that technique, he found that the basic arithmetic skills of doctoral students who were normally very good with numbers were reduced to a level similar to those with developmental dyscalculia. That led to his next inquiry: If current could turn off regions of the brain making people temporarily math-challenged, could a different type of stimulation improve math performance?"

In another earlier experiment, he found that blowing an air raid horn at random intervals duing the math test made students perform weaker. He's now investigating if other sounds can make students perform better.

Re:Well, that makes sense... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233835)

Sure they can, if the sounds change from a blaring horn to "The answer to question X is Y".

Math concepts unrelated to computation skill (3, Insightful)

TopherC (412335) | about 7 months ago | (#46233753)

I read "...and improve their understanding of math concepts" with a lot of skepticism. I think that schools love to teach computation skills because they are easy to teach and because success there is very easy to measure. But this skill is relatively unimportant compared with what I would consider "math concepts": How you apply mathematical abstractions to real-world situations (beyond making correct change at a cash register). How you break down a hard problem into less-hard pieces. How to visualize quantitative relationships, develop and use algebraic systems, and so on. These are rarely taught in schools because they are relatively difficult to teach and difficult to measure gains. So computation skills are taught instead, regardless of the fact that cheap computers are billions or trillions of times faster than any human.

Can electric current apply to this kind of conceptual learning? If so, it would have application to nearly all kinds of education, not just math.

If this works... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233765)

I want to be hit with a stun gun before every math exam... like Calculus next Wednesday.

^-- Words I'll regret later.

DIY brain boost. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233787)

You can build this yourself. For around 15 dolars in parts from radioshack. It's just a constant current circuit that limits current between .5 and 3 milliamps. The military has been using it for a while now.

Re:DIY brain boost. (2)

sexconker (1179573) | about 7 months ago | (#46234343)

You can build this yourself. For around 15 dolars in parts from radioshack. It's just a constant current circuit that limits current between .5 and 3 milliamps. The military has been using it for a while now.

I tried this but all I got was a Nextel phone and some 9 volt batteries. Maybe my Radioshack is broken?

TDCS (1)

Luke Stephen Rehmann (3535595) | about 7 months ago | (#46234937)

I have the parts on order, It's called TDCS and there's a ton of research about it. This "discovery" is nothing new.

Re:DIY brain boost. (1)

Ultracrepidarian (576183) | about 7 months ago | (#46235881)

Don't use a quarters for electrodes. . . and don't ask me how I know this.

also works (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233801)

I am a teacher, and find that student can also learn math if they put their phones down, read the book, concentrate and study.

Re:also works (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46237571)

No, it doesn't. Not if you have dyscalculia.

Can Electric Current FUCK BETA? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233821)

2000 volts should do it.

The Harrison Bergeron dystopia is near (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233857)

check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron, hint: there is also a film adaption

the harrison bergeron dystopia is near (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233889)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harrison_Bergeron, hint: there is also a film adaption

Is it April Fools day already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233943)

Really. "developmental dyscalculia." Really?!!!

wrong polarity... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46233957)

Pretty sure I know people who've put their battery in backwards and are now stupider...

Reversable (1)

Luke Stephen Rehmann (3535595) | about 7 months ago | (#46234953)

Technically, this is possible. With TDCS, the negative end of the electrode will have reduced brain activity around it and the positive electrode will have increased activity. In most TDCS regimes, the negative electrode goes somewhere on your torso or arm, thus only making your biceps dumb.

also... (1)

Luke Stephen Rehmann (3535595) | about 7 months ago | (#46234979)

Some regimes call for negative feedback to reduce activity such as those for tinnitus or some depression montages.

Why ask the masses? (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 7 months ago | (#46233967)

Maybe. Maybe not. Discussion of it probably won't lead to any insights.

Alexander Fleming had the idea of eliminating diseases by having kids drink a pink liquid extracted from fungus.

Who would have thought drinking fungus-juice would kill pathogens?

The brain offers many mysteries we need to unravel, many of them are probably very counter-intuitive and defy present day "logic".

Hold on... (2)

msobkow (48369) | about 7 months ago | (#46233969)

Hold on. Let me plug in my brain so I can add up these numbers.

Damn I wish they'd let us use calculators instead...

Re:Hold on... (1)

dudpixel (1429789) | about 7 months ago | (#46234971)

Ever heard the phrase "let me put my thinking cap on" ?

This kind of makes that a real thing.

Thinking on a much bigger scale - can this kind of technique be used to raise the limit of human intelligence? Can the world's brightest minds benefit from this? Is there potential for this kind of research to eventually aid in driving humanity further than we could otherwise have gone?

Fascinating possibilities if this is true...

Ob. Cars (3, Insightful)

swm (171547) | about 7 months ago | (#46233985)

I threw a monkey wrench into the engine of my car, and it ran slower. Maybe if throw something different into it, it will run faster

Re:Ob. Cars (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46235221)

If the thing you throw into it is a large cloud of heated oxygen, I suspect the analogy will hold.

Re:Ob. Cars (1)

Hillgiant (916436) | about 7 months ago | (#46237289)

Wrong approach. You need to get your car's engine to throw monkey wrenches. Reverse the polarity of the monkey wrench beam, if you will.

Brain damage mimic autism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46234049)

news at seventy three. Whoops, time for my jolt.

Re:Brain damage mimic autism (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 7 months ago | (#46234369)

news at seventy three. Whoops, time for my jolt.

My autistic child is a perfect unique snowflake indigo crystal child, you insensitive clod!

Re:Brain damage mimic autism (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 7 months ago | (#46234395)

Some children are Yellow snowflakes.

of course (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 7 months ago | (#46234055)

Of course it can. How else could my calculator work.

Well, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46234059)

No. [BZZZZZT!] Ouch! I mean, Yes. [Bling!]

hello again 18th century nonsense (1, Interesting)

rubycodez (864176) | about 7 months ago | (#46234183)

so here we are back at 18th century stupidity levels, passing currents through parts of people's bodies and trying to cause or attributing all manner of health improvements to it. snake oil futures are looking good

Re:hello again 18th century nonsense (0)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about 7 months ago | (#46234275)

so here we are back at 18th century stupidity levels, passing currents through parts of people's bodies and trying to cause or attributing all manner of health improvements to it. snake oil futures are looking good

Yes.

Am I alone in being utterly terrified at this trend in research?

Re:hello again 18th century nonsense (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 7 months ago | (#46234517)

Am I alone in being utterly terrified at this trend in research?

I am, too neither, excited by the prospect of a return to electro-shock therapy as a correctional therapy for antisocial behavior.

The bar measuring proactive social behavior moves around too often for that shit.

Re:hello again 18th century nonsense (1)

Natural Philosopher (3535515) | about 7 months ago | (#46234619)

So I guess months of physical therapy including TENS are of no use for this? Well, not even number theory?

That's preposterous science fiction mumbo jumbo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46234567)

It's an electronium hat which harnesses the power of sunspots to produce cognitive radiation.

beta kicks ass (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46234617)

Long live Beta.

It worked for (1)

TheGoodNamesWereGone (1844118) | about 7 months ago | (#46234655)

It worked for teaching chimps to fly

What about ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46234709)

Who cares about Math, can it make you better at programming?

TDCS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46234873)

TDCS is not a new subject, There's a whole subreddit [reddit.com] dedicated to it, not to mention hundreds of studies [nih.gov] using TDCS for everything from curing Tinnitus to increasing general memory and cognitive function.

Math disability gain? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 7 months ago | (#46234903)

If disabling a brain area makes people better at maths, one can wonder what this area is doing? It There must be some function assoicated with it. In other word: what do we win to be bad at maths?

Re:Math disability gain? (1)

Luke Stephen Rehmann (3535595) | about 7 months ago | (#46234995)

For sure, TDCS usually increases activity around the positive electrode and decreases it around the negative electrode. In this case i'm sure the minor sacrifice these people are making is worth the potentially disabling number-dyslexia.

Re:Math disability gain? (1)

manu0601 (2221348) | about 7 months ago | (#46235049)

I just wonder what ability is shut down in order to improve math skills. In other words, what it the anti-math ability?

Re:Math disability gain? (1)

Luke Stephen Rehmann (3535595) | about 7 months ago | (#46235197)

I don't think there really is any Anti-Abilities in the brain. In my research (ahem, extensive internet browsing) on the subject the only positive gains you can get from negatively stimulating a particular area are from when that area is causing problems. As this article states (excerpt below), the gains from this particular experiment are from increasing [positive] stimulation in the math-oriented areas of the brain. If you down-regulate any part of the brain, you're not really "unlocking" any new ability but rather just making that area function less... which can be a good thing (stress, pain, etc).

"He found that he could temporarily turn off regions of the brain known to be important for cognitive skills. When the parietal lobe of the brain was stimulated using that technique, he found that the basic arithmetic skills of doctoral students who were normally very good with numbers were reduced to a level similar to those with developmental dyscalculia." "That led to his next inquiry: If current could turn off regions of the brain making people temporarily math-challenged, could a different type of stimulation improve math performance? Cognitive training helps to some extent in some individuals with math difficulties. Dr. Cohen Kadosh wondered if such learning could be improved if the brain was stimulated at the same time."

Re:Math disability gain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46235681)

It's not really about shutting down an anti ability. It is more about inducing authistic behaviour by suppressing activity in a part of the brain. In this way, you can access lower level of information and bypass some of the processing that gets in the way. A goog page on how it works can be found here: http://www.trans-cranial.com/howitworks/effectsonthebrain

Get Zapped! (1)

Luke Stephen Rehmann (3535595) | about 7 months ago | (#46234987)

If you want to get shocked for science, there are tons of studies that use this technique for all kinds of stuff. http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/... [clinicaltrials.gov]

Can Electric Current Make People Better At Math? (2)

reboot246 (623534) | about 7 months ago | (#46235133)

No, but drinking beer can make you smarter.

It made Bud wiser!!

No joke like an old joke.

No Dice! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46235155)

Dice bought slashdot to bury it

30 or 40 amps (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 7 months ago | (#46235345)

...and you'll never make another math error.

Other methods (4, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 7 months ago | (#46235633)

A ten year old public school boy was finding fifth grade math to be the challenge of his life. His mom and dad did everything and anything to help their son...private tutors, peer assistance, CD-ROMs, Textbooks, even HYPNOSIS! Nothing worked.

Finally, giving up they enrolled him into a small Catholic school to await another destiny.

At the end of the first day of school the boy walked in with a stern expression on his face, and walked right past the parents and went straight to his room -and quietly closed the door. For nearly two hours he toiled away in his room -with math books strewn about his desk and the surrounding floor. He only emerged long enough to eat, and after quickly cleaning his plate, he went straight back to his room, closed the door, and worked feverishly at his studies until bedtime.

The parents were not sure if they should comment on the boys extra efforts for fear of him losing this new found fervor, so they seemingly ignored it. This pattern continued ceaselessly.

One day the first quarter report card came out. Unopened, he dropped the envelope on the family dinner table and went straight to his room.

His parents were petrified. What lay inside the envelope? Cautiously the mother opened the letter, and to her amazement she saw a bright red "A" under the subject, MATH.

Overjoyed, she and her husband rushed into their son's room, thrilled at the remarkable progress of their young son!

"Was it the nuns that did it?", the father asked. The boy only shook his head and said, "No." "Was it the one-on-one tutoring? The peer-mentoring?", asked the mother. Again, the boy shrugged, "No." "The textbooks? The teacher? The curriculum?", asked the father. "Nope," said the son. "It was all very clear to me from the very first day of Catholic school."

"How so?", asked his mom.

"When I walked into the lobby, and I saw that guy they'd nailed to the plus sign, I knew those people took their math seriously!"

Re:Other methods (1)

Indigo (2453) | about 7 months ago | (#46236155)

Ok, shouldn't admit it, but I literally laughed out loud on that one.

tDCS, you can roll your own or get it here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46235673)

It is called tDCS or transcranial direct current stimulation. There is a ton of research on tDCS. It modulates brain activity by making neurons fire faster or slower. It is used for all kinds of things, improving learning, depression etc. You can make your own primitive device with a current regulator, or get one of the commercial devices. The best one, quality vs price is probably this one: http://www.trans-cranial.com

Don't be silly! (1)

pablo_max (626328) | about 7 months ago | (#46235751)

Of course it doesn't make you better at math. I know this because when I was in the military, I was electrocuted more times than I can ...count.

The Krell discovered this eons ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46235801)

Then their Id took over and killed them all.

Not new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46236039)

They've been experimenting with this for a while, and it's just like trashdot to try to amp it up like it's something revolutionary.

Not nearly as effective as (0)

nuckfuts (690967) | about 7 months ago | (#46236271)

the teacher who gave her students oral sex for good achievement on their math tests (in the novel "Cocksure" [amazon.com] by Mordecai Richler).

Laughable... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46236665)

"developmental dyscalculia, similar to dyslexia but with numerals instead of letters"

Yes, that'll be it, there's something physically wrong with their BRAINS, of course...
It couldn't be that some people were taught the wrong way, or need to be taught a different way, to learn things... can't be that, much better to tell them they have a PHYSICAL problem...

Current buns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46237637)

I had a current bun every day, and I'm plenty good at maths. I'm also quite good as a door stop.

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