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The electrical zap that makes you better at math

Researchers in the U.K. claim that a low level zap of electricity to the appropriate part of your brain will make you better at solving math problems.

Perhaps you, like me, are close to someone who finds trouble counting beyond three. At least in their head.

Perhaps you, like me, occasionally express frustration in what you think is a humorous way, about this alleged inability.

Perhaps, you, unlike me, have tried to zap their brains with a shot of electricity in order to get their math skills up to that of a high school student.

Should you have tried to jolt a math dolt with a volt or two, you might have been doing the right thing. For researchers in Britain have discovered, at least according to the Telegraph, that if you aim a low-level zap at just the right part of a math-deficient's brain, you might improve their numerical ability. Times two.

It's easy with a zap. CC Codogblog/Flickr

Large heads at the University of Oxford are suggesting that dyscalculia, which is the nice term for people who see numbers about as well as the average CFO sees reason, can be positively stimulated by an electric charge to the parietal lobe. However, you have to be careful which way you send the electricity.

In this study, if the charge--one milliamp--went from the right side of the parietal lobe to the left, then mathematical skills appear to have been doubled.

If you go the other way, the recipient will struggle to add 1 and 0. I exaggerate. Slightly. The participants who were charged in this direction seemed to suddenly have the math skills of a 6-year-old. Which might make them look a little silly on "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?"

Dr. Cohen Kadosh, of Oxford's Department of Educational Psychology, told the Telegraph: "We are not advising people to go around giving themselves electric shocks, but we are extremely excited by the potential of our findings and are now looking into the underlying brain changes."

Some will feel a little sad that it is not a good idea to go around giving people electric shocks. But if it's for the common good? If it saves a loving relationship? If it gets them to realize that a particular pair of shoes really does cost more than the monthly mortgage and the property taxes combined?

I just ask the questions here. Only science can give the answers.