Can you imagine plugging your brain into a machine to help you learn faster? It sounds like something from a science fiction movie but it’s actually a technique scientists are testing out to see if they can help people learn new skills and languages faster.
Transcranial electrical stimulation involves the patient wearing a special headset that uses electricity to stimulate certain parts of the brain. It’s not particularly accurate but scientists are able to target large areas of the brain associated with learning specific skills.
The treatment has been used to help stroke suffered regain their language skills but many researchers, including the military, have been experimenting with using it to boost people’s brainpower. Sometimes with very positive results.
So, would it work for learning English? The answer is ‘maybe’. In theory, it should be possible to stimulate the parts of the brain that deal with language and memory to help people learn faster. In reality, though, this doesn’t work perfectly for everyone and if the wrong part of the brain is stimulated by accident, it can have completely the opposite effect.
One day this technology may give us an advantage when it comes to learning languages quickly. For now, though, it’s better to stick to the traditional way of learning: getting plenty of practise and speaking English as much as you can!