Electrical brain stimulation: public perception

The Guardian carried a story on 17th May about use of electrical brain stimulation to improve maths ability. Unfortunately, the headline talked of 'electric shocks to the brain'. In fact, the method uses stimulation that is not at all unpleasant and is often undetectable.


  1. I suggested to the science editor @jamesranderson, that the word 'shock' was misleading and should be removed from the headline. He disagreed, but compromised by qualifying the phrase as 'mild electric shocks'. While I appreciate this gesture, I think this is is still misleading, and to demonstrate this, have collated here tweets about the story. These were selected because they show that people think this method uses punishment, and in some cases they seem to confuse it with ECT.
    I appreciate that some of these comments are jokey, but I am concerned that serious research using brain stimulation could be damaged by this perception.