- To discover the effect of electrical stimulation on memory, Michael Kahana and colleagues at the University of Pennsylvania turned to 150 volunteers who had previously had electrodes implanted in their brains to help control severe epilepsy.
- They then applied machine learning methods to this brain signal data, enabling them to predict if a person’s efforts to commit something to memory would later prove successful, based on the state of their brain at the time.
- They compared the effects of jolting someone during two different brain states – the pattern of signals linked to being likely to later remember something, and the pattern linked to being more likely to have a memory lapse.
- They found that giving electrical stimulation when a person’s brain signals suggested they would later forget the current item made that person 13 per cent more likely to recall it.
- So far, many studies have conflicted with each other on the effects of deep brain stimulation and recall.
Jolting the brain with electricity really does seem to boost memory, but only if it’s done at the right time. Now we can detect when the brain could use a shock
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