How the Guardian Article About Brain Stimulation Boosting Math Skills Misleads People

Published: 2021-09-13 08:15:10
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Category: Human Body, Biology

Type of paper: Essay

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The article “Electrical stimulation of the brain boosts math skills” which was conducted by neuroscientists in Oxford University stated that it was possible to improve a person’s brain ability to learn by passing weak strokes of electrical currents through one’s brain. Apart from the original publication by the researchers, this article also appeared in the Guardian Newspaper. This paper presents a letter to the editor of the Guardian highlighting the problems with how the study has been reported as well as any further implications that this study might have. To start with, in reporting the findings of the study, the Guardian failed to include all the reporting by the researcher. For instance, in the original article, Dr. Cohen states that ‘The central finding is that stimulation may be beneficial to some populations but detrimental to others, rather than merely less effective, depending on the trait.” (Cohen et al., 2010). However, this was left out by the Guardian.
Consequently, the reporting of the Guardian might be misleading because some people might not be in apposition to read the original article thus they might not know that there exists a difference in the effectiveness of experiment. Additionally, the article posted by the Guardian fails to mention that the brain has a limitation in terms of capacity hence altering inhibition and excitation results to non-optimal changes which may negatively impact on other cognitive skills for individuals subjected to electric currents (Cohen et al., 2010). This is a problem that can lead to more damage for those who might want to follow the study based on the article that appeared on the Guardian without the knowledge of the original article. As a result, this article may be misleading to some extent as it does not present all the details given originally by Dr. Cohen. In addition, the article published by the Guardian cites that there are minimal side-effects of the electric stimulation to individual participants. Although the guardian quoted what was said by Dr. Cohen, the guardian leaves out crucial information about the people being cautious about the devices already selling in the market such as the trans-cranial devices that make use of smartphones (Summer et al., 2014). These devices as Dr. Cohen explains in the original article he published are not recommended as the research is only an experiment that has not been reported as an effective and recommendable therapy. Following the publication by Guardian readers might have the notion that the experiment is all good as the newspaper cites that the simulation has minimal side effects. When this is the case it can end up harming a lot of people who might go for the devices already selling in the market. The article by the Guardian also fails to state that there was limited information known regarding the science behind what effects brain simulation techniques would have hence this information was not clearly understood by the public. In summary, by failing to state clearly all the specifications given by the researchers especially regarding possible side effects of electric stimulation, the Guardian can mislead some people.
This is so because not all people might have had a chance to read the original article published by Dr. Cohen which means that this group of people will go by what the Guardian says. As a result, there are people how might buy the claims that this technique has minimal side effects and end up using the already available devices. When this is the case some people may end up harming their cognitive abilities unknowingly in the name of boosting their brains to handle math problems.

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