tDCS study shows brain zapping (probably) isn't making you smarter

We've seen numerous tDCS headsets over the years, such as the headset targeted at gamers and the Halo headset that tries to make you smarter. A new study shows that you might want to think twice before going all-in with tDCS units, however, at least if getting smarter is your goal. A new paper from researchers at the University of North Carolina detailed a double-blind study involving 41 participants that aimed to see how effective tDCS headsets are. The results were less than stunning.

For those unfamiliar, a tDCS headset applies an electrical current to one's head through carefully placed electrodes, and the idea is that it provides painless and harmless stimulation. According to some literature, these headsets can improve cognitive prowess; other studies are less enthusiastic.

In this latest study, the 41 participants were given an IQ test, then a week was allowed to pass, after which point the participants were given either real or fake (unknown to them) tDCS stimulation. Right after that, the participants took another similar IQ test.

As it turns out, the participants given the tDCS stimulation had lower IQ results, showing a decrease in performance. Of course, this was one study, so diehard tDCS users shouldn't be quick to grab their pitchforks — only one zapping sessions was performed for the study, and according to some tDCS faithfuls, it takes more than one session for positive changes.

VIA: Gizmodo