Odd Enough Would you zap your brain to be less boring?

Using a weak electrical current to stimulate a specific area of your brain can spark your creativity.

  • Published:
zapping brain play

zapping brain

(Photograph by Getty Images)
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

When your brain’s in a rut, new ideas stall out. But there may be a way to pull yourself out of it just in time for your next brainstorm session.

Using a weak electrical current to stimulate a specific area of your brain can spark your creativity, research from Queen Mary University of London suggests.

The area is called your left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, or DLPFC. This part of your frontal brain is involved in most of your thinking and reasoning—in fact, it helps you solve problems by applying rules that you learned previously to reach a solution.

Problem is, when we encounter new issues that require a different vein of thinking, fixating on those past rules can block creativity, leaving us in a mental rut.

“To break this mental fixation, we need to loosen up our learned rules,” study author Caroline Di Bernardi Luft, Ph.D., explained in a press release.

So Luft and her team decided to see how blocking DLPFC would affect people’s reasoning.

They gathered 60 people and broke them into three groups: The first had their DLPFC suppressed by transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), which involved sending a weak, pain-free electrical current passed through saline-soaked electrodes on the scalp.

The second had their DLPFC activated the same way. And the third had their DLPFC left alone.

Then, the people had to solve tricky math problems, which required them to relax the tried-and-true rules of algebra and arithmetic they’d otherwise need to apply.

The group who had their DLPFC suppressed were significantly more likely to solve the problems, the study found.

But they didn’t experience a blanket improvement: They were actually worse at solving other memory problems where they needed to keep track in their minds of a whole bunch of different items at once.

That means that it’s unlikely one kind of brain zap can lead to an all-around brain gain—despite what some companies selling at-home brain stimulators may want you to think, the researchers caution.

Want a simple way to boost your creativity now? Play the volume game: For any potential problem at home, give yourself an hour to come up with 100 possible solutions, suggests Anne Manning, an instructor in creative thinking at Harvard University.

People tend to get bogged down in overthinking an idea that they think seems promising, which stops them from generating new ones, she says.

And the more ideas you have, the higher your chances of coming up with a game-changer. You can always cross out the crappy ones later.

Additional reporting by Rachael Shultz

Follow Us: Men's Health

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos





Top Articles

1 Relationships and Sex How your big toe can signal problems with your...bullet
2 Fitness Tips The upper-body stretch that builds musclebullet
3 Health Tips ​Stop buying fancy antibacterial products, health...bullet
4 Guy Smarts ​Lingerie model fed up with dick pics gets hilarious...bullet
5 Health Tips ​The simple nighttime tip that can stop you from...bullet
6 Relationships and Sex Having this much sex might make you smarterbullet
7 Fitness Tips 5 cutting-edge exercise machines we’d kill to...bullet
8 Health Tips How eating olive oil can boost your memorybullet
9 Odd Enough This woman is fighting for her right to be...bullet
10 Fitness and Weight Loss This new spin on planking will...bullet

Top Videos

1 HEATHER CONNOR | 2017 IPF OPEN RAW WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS | (6/21/2017)bullet
2 Joey Ryan vs. Mark Bell with "Mad Dog" Mike Bell from Bigger Stronger...bullet
3 Kids Tell Their Parents How They Lost Their Virginitybullet
4 Doctors discover LIVE cockroach inside woman's SKULLbullet
5 Bob Harper’s Death Scare - WWHLbullet
6 Maria Bello & Viggo Mortensen sex scene in "A History of...bullet
7 How Many Times a Month Do You Have Sex?bullet

Men's Health