For the first time, researchers have been able to hack into the process of learning in the brain, using induced brain patterns to create a learned behavior. It’s not quite as advanced as an instant kung-fu download, and it’s not as sleek as cognitive inception, but it’s still an important finding that could lead to new teaching and rehabilitation techniques.
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Future therapies could decode the brain activity patterns of an athlete or a musician, and use them as a benchmark for teaching another person a new activity, according to the researchers.
Scientists from Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto used functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to study the learning process. They were examining the adult brain’s aptitude for visual perceptual learning, or VPL, in which repetitive training improves a person’s performance on a particular task. Whether adults can do this as well as young people has been an ongoing debate in neuroscience.
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