Put On Your Thinking Cap - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
Feature
News
1/4/2002
12:34 PM
50%
50%
RELATED EVENTS
[Cybersecurity] New Methods for Managing the Skills Shortage
Jun 06, 2017
In this webinar, security experts discuss methods for doing better security with fewer people, inc ...Read More>>

Put On Your Thinking Cap

The year is 2006. You're in the office trying to make a tough decision. You need to think objectively, so you reach into your desk and pull out a thinking cap, a heavily wired beanie with a long electrical cord. Fitting the cap carefully on top of your head, you lean back and plug it into the wall. And in a flash, you've decided what to do--it's so clear! Why didn't you think of it sooner?

World-renowned physicist Allan Snyder is working toward that scenario. Known for his work in optics and telecommunications, Snyder now heads the Centre for the Mind, a joint venture between the Australian National University (where he's also a professor) and the University of Sydney. Snyder and his colleagues are investigating what he calls "mind physics"--ways to use technology to make the brain work more efficiently and to expand creativity.

The inspiration for the project came from studying the brain functions of a severely autistic girl. A savant, similar to Dustin Hoffman's character in the movie Rain Man, she could barely communicate with other people, yet was able to draw incredibly accurate pictures of the world around her. Snyder theorized that some of the damaged parts of her brain were the areas that let healthy people see the world subjectively. So he began trying to simulate that condition in another person.

"We located the area of the brain that's damaged in a savant and switched it off [in a healthy mind] with magnets," Snyder explains. By turning off the part of the brain that supports subjectivity, "we have been able to enhance objectivity," he says. Test subjects are temporarily able to draw pictures far more accurately than they normally can, he says. Ultimately, the research could lead to more ways to make workers smarter, bosses fairer, and decisions easier to make. Says Snyder, "We can create more objective people."

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of Data and Analytics
Today's companies are differentiating themselves using data analytics, but the journey requires adjustments to people, processes, technology, and culture. 
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 6, 2016. We'll be talking with the InformationWeek.com editors and correspondents who brought you the top stories of the week to get the "story behind the story."
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll