Neural Network Simulated Annealing
Stimulating the brain with high frequency electrical noise can supersede the beneficial effects observed from transcranial direct current stimulation, either anodal or cathodal (as well as those observed from sham stimulation), in perceptual learning, as newly reported by Fertonani, Pirully & Miniussi in the Journal of Neuroscience. The authors suggest that transcranial random noise stimulation may work by preventing those neurophysiological homeostatic mechanisms that govern ion channel conductance from rebalancing the changes induced by prolonged practice on this perceptual learning task.
Over several experiments, a total of 99 subjects underwent transcranical random noise stimulation, consisting of an AC current of 1.5 mA intensity at random frequencies between 0.1 to 100 Hz (for low-frequency stimulation) or 100-640 Hz (for high frequency stimulation). Direct current stimuliation was similarly provided at 1.5mA. (In case you wanted to replicate this experiment at home, the company that sells the device used in this study has made it clear they’re perfectly fine with selling you one for your own personal use ["Unser Service für Sie persönliche Beratung"] – not that I’m recommending that!) At any rate, no artifactual visual perceptions were induced by these stimulations, and all women were tested during their follicular menstrual phase (at which point their cortical excitability is most similar to that of men). Stimulation was provided for approximately 4 minutes over the occipital lobe (or vertex, for control stimulation conditions) during each block of a visual orientation discrimination task. Subjects simply had to say whether a given stimulus was tilted clockwise or counterclockwise relative to a preceding reference stimulus.
Source: Developing Intelligence
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