DARPA test finds running electrical currents through scalp improves video game skills

In a study funded by the US Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA), scientists at the University of New Mexico hooked subjects up to electrical currents which were generated through sponges attached to their temples.

Whilst playing DARWARS AMBUSH!, a training game designed to help soldiers train for service in Iraq, the subjects’ performance improved when they were running on batteries.This process is called transcranial direct-current stimulation (tCDS).

DARWARS AMBUSH! requires gamers to detect signs of danger in a landscape of dilapidated buildings and abandoned cars, and scan for things such as explosive devices and enemy gunmen.

Half of the test subjects had two milliamps of electricity channeled through their scalp – approximately 1/500th of the energy it takes to power a 100-watt lightbulb.

The other test subjects received about 1/20th of that amount.Neuroscientists Vincent Clarke said that the group that received two milliamps of electricity to the brain showed twice as much improvement over a short period of time compared to the group that received the lesser amount.

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