TODAY -

MidBrain Activation A Scam ?

Ranjan Khaba *



Recently, I came across an advertisement for MidBrain Activation in a major Manipuri daily newspaper. The caption 'Reading, Writing, Painting, Playing, Riding All with Eyes Closed' caught my attention immediately.

I am a hobbyist, and run a small science club where I conduct science workshops for students during my free time. As many of my demonstrations cover subjects like the visual illusion, persistence of vision and the visual organ - the eye, the term "the third eye" (used by the promoters) grew my inquisitiveness and led me to google about it. Some interesting write-ups regarding midbrain activation have come up.

Let us first know what the MidBrain is

The midbrain is a small region of the brain that serves important functions in motor movement, particularly movements of the eye, and in auditory and visual processing. It is located in the brainstem and between the two other developmental regions of the brain, the forebrain and the hindbrain.

The midbrain also contains a portion of the reticular formation, a neural network that is involved in arousal and alertness. Cranial nerves in the midbrain that stimulate the muscles controlling eye movement, lens shape, and pupil diameter form the nuclear complex of the oculomotor nerve and the trochlear nucleus. [Source: Encyclopedia Britannica]

Then what is this MidBrain "activation" all about?

According to the promoters of the programme the "activation" is a technique of optimizing the function of the midbrain. According to them, once "activated" successfully it enhances intuitive and imaginative power of a child in the age group of 5-15 years and makes them super intelligent. They claim that children would develop capabilities to do things with their eyes closed/ blindfolded such as, reading, writing, painting and identifying colours by touching objects. They also promote a term called the third eye where the "blind" can see objects through senses other than the visual.

Their training programme involves Blindfold reading, speed reading techniques, mind training, music therapy etc., at a cost of around Rs. 20,000 - 25,000 per child. They also offer business opportunities for the parents by taking up their franchise.

But is this for real or a scam?

Be careful, folks. They seem to be more interested in making money. How is it possible to see by just rubbing, smelling etc. being blindfolded? How can one read a page in 1 second? What crap? Without proper explanation and proof, one shouldn't fall for their tall claims.

The claim is against the basic principle of human physiology and optical physics. Human being's ability to see an object is the result of a complex interaction of light, eye and brain. In order to see an object, light from the object must enter our eyes through the pupil. Depending on the amount of light, the iris changes the size of the pupil to let more or less light in. The light then passes through the lens.

The lens focuses the light onto the back surface of the eye, the Retina. The Retina contains two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. Rods are responsible for vision at low light levels. They do not mediate colour vision, and have a low spatial acuity. Cones are active at higher light levels, are capable of colour vision and are responsible for high spatial acuity. When light strikes either the rods or cones of the retina, it's converted into an electrical signal that is relay to the brain via optic nerve.

The brain then translate the electrical signals to images. If you are blindfolded and have no other alternate photosensitive device, then there is no chance that one can see except imagining. Colour is a property of light; without light, there will be no colour and without colour, reading is next to impossible.

What the rationalists and magician have to say about it?

With my intention to stop this nonsense, I have contacted Mr. Narendra Nayak, President of the Federation of Indian Rationalist Associations and asked for his assistance. He has challenged the MidBrain activation promoters to demonstrate a child's ability to read after being blindfolded by him and offered a reward of 5 Lakh Rupees if they succeed. According to him, some unscrupulous individuals have been taking advantage of the gullible parents.

Famous magician Mr Gopinath Muthukad from Kerala says that mid-brain training is a magic trick. They use the magic trick called 'X-ray vision' to cheat the children and parents into believing vision. The trick is teaching children to peek through the blindfold while reinforcing that it is their midbrain that does the reading.

Personal experience on brain exercise

I will refrain from being judgemental but would leave the answer to some exercise which any man or child can learn without any stimulation!

I juggle three balls during my free time as stress buster. It is fun-filled and entertaining at the same time it absorbs you in the activity so much so that it is almost impossible to think of anything else at that point of time. You can't just throw all the balls up in the air and hope everything comes together!

The challenge of juggling improves eye-hand coordination, motor skills, and physical fitness. It requires neither expensive equipment/trainer nor a dedicated place. Devil stick ("Chei-khatpa"- Manipuri martial art) is also a form of juggling. Everyone should give a try!

It is high time the people of Manipur learn from their last mistakes (Visarev/Unipay) and shut the shop immediately. It has been a failure in the states of Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Haryana, Punjab etc. The government should also make them accountable.

Remember, there is no shortcut to success.

Note: If anyone is interested to accept his challenge, please read the terms and condition from http://nirmukta.com/2015/06/01/midbrain-activation-a-scam/ and can get in touch with him.


* Ranjan Khaba wrote this article for e-pao.net
Mr. Khaba is an Electrical Engineer by training and a Software Engineer by profession. He runs a science club and conducts science workshops in free time.
He can be contacted at altitudescienceclub(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on August 06, 2016.


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