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August 2014 - Happier Human

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Monthly Archives: August 2014
43

Direct Brain Stimulation, a Billion Dollar Invention? Not Yet.

Every single feeling of perception – of touch, of smell, of color – can be traced back to a particular set of neurons.

Stimulate those neurons directly and a person’s perception of reality can be controlled.

In the 1940s, neurosurgeon Wilder Penfield experimented with the brains of his patients. He sent mild electric shocks to their somatosensory cortex.

As a result, they felt as if their body was being touched even when it wasn’t. A shock to one area, a feeling of their arm being pushed, a shock to another and a feeling of their upper lip being nipped.

Science fiction takes brain stimulation technology to its extreme – fully immersive virtual reality. Want the user to feel as if he’s actually boxing, not just waving his hands in the air? Sense his arm and body movements. Then stimulate the neurons responsible for his fist and arm when he gives a hit and the neurons responsible for his head and nose when he takes one.

But why limit direct stimulation of the brain to physical perception?

Stimulate the brain’s happiness centers and BAM – you’ve got happiness on demand.

You can purchase a direct brain stimulation device online, plunk it on your head, pick a brain region, get zapping, and enhance your mood, memory, and attention.

You can spend 25 years working hard in order to make your life perfect and finally get those happiness neurons firing as much as you want, or just maybe, you can use tDCS for 25 days.

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