You have probably heard about, or personally experienced, people with amazing mental capabilities. They are frequently referred to as savants, and they can do things that "normal" human beings cannot. And then there are abilities that, while not particularly unusual, are rare. For example, the ability to draw a good portrait of another person. It turns out that these abilities may lie latent in all of us, and are simply masked by higher-level mental functions in the left side of the brain. This video demonstrates this tantalizing possibility by shutting down parts of the brain using magnetic stimulation:
Magnetic stimulation like this is getting more visibility right now because it may also be able to help in the treatment of depression:
TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation) therapy is a non-invasive technique that delivers highly focused magnetic field pulses to a specific portion of the brain, the left prefrontal cortex, in order to stimulate the areas of the brain linked to depression. These pulses are of a similar intensity to the magnetic field produced during an MRI imaging scan. The repeated short bursts of magnetic energy introduced through the scalp excite neurons locally and in connected areas in the brain.
- Body and Brain: Savant Syndrome