Neurotech for achieving supernatural memorizing skills

Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney NSW, directed by Prof. Allan Snyder, in collaboration with Neuromodulation Lab of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, has undertaken an interesting study to demonstrate how neuromodulation can unleash supernatural sensory abilities hidden in normal people.  Their study, published in September issue of Brain Research, shows that a 13-minute application of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) – with cathodal current (inhibitory) on the left anterior temporal lobe and anodal current (excitatory) on the right anterior temporal lobe – results in twice as accurate visual recollection as compared to sham stimulation or stimulation with reversed current polarities. Interestingly, the autistic people with a deficit in left anterior temporal lobe also have better visual memory. It is conceivable that improved visual memory is due to a diminishing left hemisphere dominance leading to a right hemisphere compensation. This hypothesis is supported by the finding that people without strong hemisphere dominance have better memory for semantically related words. Right hemisphere is important for recalling specific details without their understanding, which is important for arts, music, mathematics, mechanical and spatial skills – the skills that autistic people are exceptional at. Perhaps, we are all capable of accessing such raw information in the right hemisphere but our abilities are greatly inhibited by our conscious left-dominated awareness. With the help of neuromodulation technology, we can, perhaps, unleash the savant-like mental state, the autistic genius inside of us. For more information about this, please see this comprehensive review by Allan Snyder, published in Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B in 2009.

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