Brain to brain communication breaks down language barrier

In today’s society, language is a way for people to spread their knowledge and communicate with the world. Scientists are now asking if language is actually forming a barrier between people. Words can often complicate matters, especially when different languages are put in the mix, but what if people could communicate through brain to brain interaction without need for words? In a study, scientists took multiple pairs of people and had them sit about a half of a mile apart without any way of interacting. One person making up the pair was considered the sender and his or her job was to watch a video game and signal the other person to fire a cannon to defend the virtual city. When this person signaled, the second person in the pair would experience a hand twitch that caused him or her to touch the touch pad and fire the cannon. To make this connection possible, the first person was connected to an electroencephalography machine. When there is activity in the brain, the electrodes of this machine detect electrical charges and then send an electrical signal to the second participant using the live web. In order to access the hand of the second participant, a transcranial magnetic stimulation coil was attached to a cap and placed on the head by the part of the brain that controls it. Once the stimulation was passed to the cap, the second participant’s hand was put into action.

EEG Recording Cap

By Chris Hope (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tim_uk/8135755109/) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The accuracy of this experiment depended on the pair of participants and ranged from about 25-83% accuracy. Not everyone was good at commanding an action to happen and this caused most of the difference in accuracy. With new funding, scientists now want to move forward in this study and try to communicate more complex ideas through brain to brain communication. For example, communicating awareness, tiredness, thoughts, or standards. Someday, scientists hope to study whether or not a teacher can send brain signals to students to teach them instead of using words to try to explain complex issues and processes!

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