Head and Heart, a brain optimization institute, appeared in the second episode of the first season of Shark Tank India. The startup claims to optimize kids' brains using techniques originating from Japan. The founder of Head and Heart, Mr Singh, called the whole process "scientific magic".
Just like the judges on the show, the audiences at their homes were also amazed. The way the whole pitch went, it did seem like scientific magic. The presenters of the pitch also said that this brain optimization technique helped them in their artistic abilities and concentration.
Though they did not receive any investment from the sharks, they did get the publicity they would have wanted. According to Mr Singh, the Himachal Pradesh education board has also approved their curriculum for students from class 9th to 12th, who will have the option to choose it as an elective subject.
This is where the concern kicks in. If this is truly a brain optimization technique, then well and good. But if it's a scam, then it is a huge problem. And this is what YouTuber Pranav tried to address on his channel Science is Dope.
When it comes to their kids, parents are ready to do anything and go to any length. If there is a product that claims that their kids will start performing exceptionally well, parents are ready to spend any amount of money. And the comments on Pranav's video proves that.
A viewer named Prachi shared her experience of trying a similar product. She also shared what exactly happened in those sessions and what they did to optimize their brains.
Another viewer, Jayesh, also shared a similar experience.
These comments show how brands like these are exploiting customers and why the video by Science is Dope is so important. He explains how this scam works and how the pieces of cotton under the blindfold creates a gap that actually helps you see the objects more clearly.
By bringing the objects closer to 'smell' them, the presenters are actually bringing it within their line of sight to see the objects clearer.
As mentioned in the video, this is not the first scam of its kind. Earlier it was known as midbrain activation. An episode aired on Kaun Banega Crorepati showcased a girl reading while having her blindfolds on, which left Amitabh Bachchan awestruck.
The channel deleted that portion of the episode after rationalist Narendra Nayak wrote an open letter to Amitabh Bachchan condemning the portrayal of such claims on national television. Narendra Nayak is a rationalist and godman debunker who has debunked many of such claims in the past. He also debunked the midbrain activation scam back in 2015.
These midbrain activation techniques or brain optimization techniques are claimed to have originated from Japan. According to Narendra Nayak, they are citing a Japanese scammer, Makoto Shichida, who was a professional fraud, had multiple fake degrees and awards from fake organizations, and claimed he could make children geniuses. According to Mr Nayak, even Makoto Shichida never claimed that children could see without light like many Indian scammers are doing.
In India, everybody wants their child to be the brainiest in the world and these people (the scammers) cater to their ego.
- Narendra Nayak
Pranav also noted that when you search the term 'midbrain activation', Mr Nayak's video pops up on the top. And this could probably be the reason why the name was changed from midbrain activation to brain optimization. After all, who wants to get exposed as soon as a customer Googles their name?
Pranav, through his video, is trying to spread awareness about such scams so that hundreds of gullible parents don't fall prey to them, and this article is just an attempt to take it further.