If you, on your lesser days, could reach for a thinking cap to make you a little brainier, what would you expect?
Would you expect to solve math problems quicker? Would you imagine that complex scientific puzzlers would suddenly seem like simple amusements? Or would you expect to be able to paint a convincing forgery of the Sistine Chapel ceiling in your three-bedroom ranch house?
I ask because a professor in Sydney, Australia, has created a "thinking cap" and thinks he has the answers to the above questions.
What he discovered is that his little rubber strap with two conductors attached helped subjects perform very well when it came to a simple math problem. In fact, they performed better than those whose heads weren't festooned with what looks like a prop from a "Star Trek" episode.
The thinking cap, first revealed in 2008, works by passing low levels of electricity through the brain, while suppressing its left side. In this way, your more original, right side, functions at a higher level.
Professor Snyder told AFP that the device could come in handy "if you wanted to look at the world, just briefly, with a child's view, if you wanted to look outside the box."
Originally, the professor studied accident victims who suddenly burst out with creativity, and unusually gifted beings not dissimilar to Dustin Hoffman's character in "Rain Man."
What he discovered led him to create a device that suppresses your current knowledge bank in order to free your creative impulses.
While he is confident that this thinking cap can truly work, he struggles with explaining how, exactly, it does. In fact, he reportedly believes he is a long way from being able to explain it.
Perhaps he just needs to create a better thinking cap for himself, in order to explain how his thinking cap works. In the meantime, as you will see from the video I have embedded, Professor Snyder himself always seems to wear a cap. And oh how he wears it.