Hack Your Brain with Electricity
- Parent Category: Upper-Intermediate News Lessons
- Category: Science and Technology
- Written by Chris Cotter
The quest for self-improvement is not new. Years ago, self-help books and seminars were the popular choice to improve productivity, organization, and health. In recent years, consumers download smartphone apps for self-improvement. In fact, "hacking" one's life has become big business. And now, some people are using a DIY shock therapy to improve brain functions.
In this worrisome hack, people attach electrodes and a small battery to the scalp, and this delivers a low-intensity electric current to the brain. These devices are supposed to improve study and memory skills, which make them especially popular with university students during exams. Students learn and think more quickly, and also have better focus. These devices are also supposed to improve the mood of the user, especially with some symptoms caused by depression.
The idea began as a treatment for chronic illnesses like depression, but it has spread to Internet forums. A search turns up detailed instructions and pages of discussions. Companies have cashed in on the hype too. Although someone could make a device with parts from the hardware store, commercially sold devices sell for $200 and more.
Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, there are numerous risks. Self-made devices have caused burns, mood swings, and outbursts of anger. Some people have complained of headaches and nausea when using these devices too. Even worse, no one knows the long-term risks, which could prove extremely harmful.
It seems there will always be people who look for improvement, even with the possibility of severe risk.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Discuss: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- People should always try to improve themselves.
- I would like to be smarter!
- I would like to be healthier!
- I would like to be more productive!
- Many types of self-improvement can also be risky.
Fill in the Blanks: Fill in the blank with the correct word.
- The ( ) for self-improvement is not new.
- Some people are using a DIY shock therapy to improve brain ( ).
- And this ( ) a low-intensity electric current to the brain.
- These devices are ( ) popular with university students during exams.
- The idea began as a treatment for ( ) illnesses like depression
- Companies have cashed in on the ( ) too.
- ( ) sold devices sell for $200 and more.
- Unfortunately and unsurprisingly, there are ( ) risks.
- Self-made devices have caused burns, mood swings, and ( ) of anger.
- There will always be people who look for improvement, even with the possibility of ( ) risk.
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- What kind of people would try the therapy? Why do you think they would try it?
- With the current information available, would you want to try this new electric shock therapy?
- If the shock therapy were proven safe and effective, would you want to try it? Please explain.
- Is life hacking popular in your country? Please explain.
- Why do people continually try to improve themselves? Please explain.
Google Search: Type "life hacking" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.