Matrix-Style Learning Possible?
When, years ago, I watched the movie The Matrix for the first of many times, I really loved the way the characters were able to ‘learn’ martial arts and how to fly helicopters and other difficult disciplines in the virtual ‘real world’ simply by putting on a headset and programming their brains.
In a study published in the National Science Foundation website, entitled Vision Scientists Demonstrate Innovative Learning Method scientists have shown that this may in fact be possible in reality.
Research published in December 2011 suggests it is possible to learn Matrix-style with little or no conscious effort.
By using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and neurofeedback researchers were able to induce brain activity to match the brain activity of an expert of whatever task they want to learn.
Currently the research focussed on visual learning, with physical learning not as well understood.
What was interesting was that test subjects were able to learn without even being aware of what they were learning.
Which is like how hypnosis works on the unconscious and has been used to enhance performance in all kinds of endeavours.
The implications of this research include stream-lined memory and motor rehabilitation after accidents as well as other activities including sport and music.
While it is a long way off yet, it does seem possible that some time in the future we will simply be able to watch a computer screen and recover from injury or learn, on a neurological level, how to do anything.
Already there are some new age devices that are sold that claim to do this, though it seems the scientific proof thus far is lacking.
That does not mean they do not work however, as convincing the mind, the ‘buy-in’, that it does work is a major part of learning.
Research originally published in the National Science Foundation December 8, 2011
By Mark O’Brien, May 23, 2012
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