Slipping on the thinking cap.
Over at BoingBoing, Cory Doctorow waxes enthusiastic about the process of zapping your brain into a creative “flow” state:
The “thinking cap” is something like the tasp of science fiction, and the experimental evidence for it as a learning enhancement tool is pretty good thus far — and the experimental subjects report that the experience feels wonderful ([Science writer Sally] Adee: “the thing I wanted most acutely for the weeks following my experience was to go back and strap on those electrodes.”)
After trying it myself, I have different questions. To make you understand, I am going to tell you how it felt. The experience wasn’t simply about the easy pleasure of undeserved expertise. When the nice neuroscientists put the electrodes on me, the thing that made the earth drop out from under my feet was that for the first time in my life, everything in my head finally shut the fuck up.
And of course a potentially triggering set of “How To” links is included.
More from Adee can be found here:
Sometimes they’re anodyne distractors that tell us to look at the shiny thing or interrupt our focus to bleat that we forgot to buy milk. But most often their influence is destructive. They tell us in countless ways that we’re not good enough.
Me without self-doubt was a revelation. There was suddenly this incredible silence in my head; I’ve experienced something close to it during 2-hour Iyengar yoga classes, but the fragile peace in my head would be shattered almost the second I set foot outside the calm of the studio. I had certainly never experienced instant zen in the frustrating middle of something I was terrible at.
There were no unpleasant side effects. The bewitching silence of the tDCS lasted, gradually diminishing over a period of about three days. The inevitable reintroduction of self-doubt and inattention to my mind bore heartbreaking similarities to the plot of Flowers for Algernon.