Are the higher levels of mental processing just clouds that a magnetic thinking cap could sweep away for a sunny day of pure logic? In “‘Super soldiers’: The quest for the ultimate human killing machine“, Michael Hanlon writes
One of the most bizarre neuroscience findings in recent years is that by immersing the human brain in a powerful magnetic field, its powers of reasoning and learning are almost magically enhanced.
No one knows exactly how “transcranial magnetic stimulation” (TMS) works, but the Australian neuroscientist Professor Allan Snyder believes that magnetic fields in some way “switch off” the higher levels of mental processing that normally cloud our thoughts, allowing a “pure” form of reasoning to take over.
“Each of us could draw like a professional, do lightning-fast arithmetic,” he says. In fact, some subjects in TMS experiments have acquired (temporarily) similar abilities to the rare “autistic savants”, people who are able to perform astounding arithmetical feats and memorise whole telephone directories (an autistic savant was played by Dustin Hoffman in the film Rain Man).
In 2009, a US Academy of Sciences report concluded that within 20 years we could be using TMS to enhance soldiers’ fighting capabilities. As Professor Moreno says, “there is talk of TMS machines being used on the battlefields within 10 years in vehicles and in 10 years more in helmets.”
Aside: Instant kolinahr‘s gonna get you, gonna knock you right on the head.