Prof. Dr. Norbert Jaušovec Full professor of Psychology, University of Maribor
Brain training: games, electric stimulation, nutrition, neurofeedback and similar.
The “Nürnberger Trichter” – a magic funnel used to pour knowledge, expertise and wisdom into students – demonstrates that the idea of effortless learning and the power of intelligence was “cool” even 500 years ago.
Today noninvasive brain stimulation (NIBS), which involves transcranial direct and alternating current stimulation (tDCS and tACS), as well as random noise (tRNS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), could be regarded as a contemporary replacement for the magic funnel. They represent and extension to the more classical methods for cognitive enhancement, such as behavioral training and computer games. On the other hand, there is still a number of alternative approaches that can affect cognitive function. Among the most prominent are: nutrition, drugs, exercise, meditation-related reduction in psychological stress and neurofeedback.
The presentation will provide a concise overview of methods claiming to improve cognitive functioning – psychological constructs such as intelligence and working memory.
Discussed will be changes in behavior and brain activation patterns observed with the electroencephalogram (EEG), functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).
Examined will be the usefulness of brain training for the man/woman in the street, as well as an additional device that can verify and bring causation into the relations between brain activity and cognition. Modulating brain plasticity and by that changing network dynamics crucial for intelligent behavior can be a powerful research tool that can elucidate the neurobiological background of intelligence, working memory and other psychological constructs.