Debunking ‘midbrain activation’ of children

‘Midbrain activation’ is a training programme to equip children to sense visual properties without actually seeing them, though science educators and rationalists dub them as a pseudo-science meant to take gullible parents for a ride.

Organisations offering the programme are enticing parents by claiming that it will improve memory, concentration, and intuition of children by stimulating some parts of the brain. They offer the training for a fee that ranges between Rs.10,000 and Rs.25,000.

The brain will be so awakened, they claim, that the children will be equipped to read and see even while they are blindfolded.

Science promoters and rationalists counter it saying that it is nothing but a bid to hoodwink parents who want their children to be geniuses.

Training programme

The training programme, now being offered by some organisations and their franchisees in the State, found itself in the spotlight when the challenge of Narendra Nayak, a Mangaluru-based rationalist, that he would pay Rs.5 lakh to any organisation that demonstrated a child’s ability to read after being blindfolded, was accepted by Vinoj Surendran who runs the Kollam-based Ingenium India offering various ‘mind empowerment’ programmes for children.

Public demo

“Initially, Mr. Surendran agreed for the public demonstration of the claim in Kozhikode on April 19, but as days passed by, he developed cold feet and he wanted the demonstration to be held without any financial implications,” Mr. Nayak, president of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations, told The Hindu .

But two days before the scheduled event, Mr. Surendran backed out, he said. The organisers, however, held the event as scheduled to debunk the trick.

Backing out

When contacted, Mr. Surendran said over phone that he had backed out from the event when he realised that Mr. Nayak was a rationalist. “There is no point demonstrating my claims to a person who does not believe in God,” he said.

Moreover, the children whose midbrains have been activated can only perform in a “meditative mode” and not in a “defensive or negative mode,” he added. Asked what technique was being used to “activate” children’s midbrain, he said that the traditional “nada-yoga” was being used to vibrate the brain.

The organisers said the children, if trained, could easily peek through the normal blindfolds and see objects and read texts. But when the eyes are blinded with blacked-out swimming goggles or adhesive eye patches occluding all light, they would not be able to do it, the organisers said.

Pseudo-science taking gullible parents for a ride, says rationalist

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 4:28:13 PM |

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