Archive for 'Meditation'

Thought Sounds 3: Relax – Now Available!

The latest result of our collaboration with the incredibly talented composer Andrew Foust is here! Thought Sounds 3: Relax is now available from our website. TS3 logo

Thought Sounds 3: Relax is a large volume of royalty-free soundtracks, meticulously crafted by Andrew with the goal of creating perfect audio companions for relaxation, meditation and hypnosis, while ensuring all of the soundtracks are flawlessly compatible with brainwave entrainment and our software.

For this volume, we’ve divided the 140 soundtracks into 3 categories: light relaxation, deep relaxation, and meditation. One way to think of these categories is that the light tracks might be preferred for an alpha session during a midday break, and the deep tracks could pair with a lower theta session for more detached relaxation. The meditative tracks are ideal for a diverse range of meditation sessions and practices, with exotic and inventive instrumentation to draw the listener further into any mental journey without distracting them.

You can start to hear this rich variety for yourself with the sample reel clip below.  If you’re familiar with Andrew’s work from Thought Sounds 2, then you’ll already be expecting to hear more truly remarkable compositions- and Andrew has absolutely delivered that here. In this clip, you’ll hear parts of 13 different tracks from Thought Sounds 3 in a little over 7 minutes, but the entire collection includes over 14 hours of music!

As with all of the music in our Thought Sounds collections, these tracks have been designed from the ground up for use with brainwave stimulation. That means every one of these compositions had to use minimal percussion, provide a consistent bed of sound without any breaks, and had to stay within frequency ranges best suited for the embedding of brainwave stimulating rhythms using our software.

And once again, we’ve worked hard to create over 14 hours of music that never strays from meeting all of the criteria described above. Our hope is that these huge and varied libraries of music will make it easy for anyone to find exactly the right companion piece for their goals, or the goals of their clients.

It’s a massive undertaking, but we’re continuing to develop these collections of music for specific session goals because we believe that the power of just the right soundtrack to significantly enhance a brainwave session is incredible. The innately soothing properties of thoughtfully composed music, combined with precisely configured brainwave stimulation driving one’s mind to a relaxed, meditative, or hypnotic state, is a uniquely powerful therapeutic tool.

We’re thrilled to have another incredible music collection available for everyone. Learn more about Thought Sounds 3 here: http://www.transparentcorp.com/products/ts3/ – Thanks very much for checking it out!

Learn more about our other collaboration with Andrew Foust, called Thought Sounds 2: Focus, at http://www.transparentcorp.com/products/ts2/

Learn more about the original Thought Sounds collection at http://www.transparentcorp.com/products/thoughtsounds/

Alpha frequencies and hallucinations

Mind Hacks has a great write-up about the Dream Machine, one of the original mind machines, and its use for inducing visual hallucinations:

http://www.mindhacks.com/blog/2009/09/from_stroboscope_to_.html

New study on Brainwave Entrainment (By Dr. Huang)

I’m pleased to announce the publication of “A Comprehensive Review of the Psychological Effects of Brainwave Entrainment” in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine this month. This paper is the most comprehensive review of peer reviewed research in the subject, and was written in order to inform those within and the beyond the field of brainwave entrainment (BWE), and to provide sufficient background for future research.

Most of the research known to date has been summarized by David Siever in two unpublished manuscripts that he sells and distributes. They contain much valuable information about the history of BWE, both published and unpublished studies and proposed mechanisms of action. However, despite their length, they do not provide a complete listing of the peer reviewed literature, nor have his manuscripts faced the scientific scrutiny that comes with publishing in a peer reviewed journal. In fact, in our comprehensive search, we found articles that have never before been mentioned by those in the brainwave entrainment development and scientific community. Why? Believe it or not, the problem is in the inconsistency in terminology used to describe BWE. The term, BWE, until today, cannot be found in the scientific literature. Instead it is referred to as audiovisual stimulation, photic stimulation, photic driving, auditory entrainment, etc, etc. In all I did a search using 31 different terms to look for articles on brainwave entrainment, which returned 27,830 articles using Ovid (1 out of the 4 databases I used to do the search). Only a very small handful of these turned out to be articles on BWE. Thus much of the credit needs to go to my bosses at Transparent Corporation, who gave me the time to do this exhaustive, time consuming, and yet important work.

I looked for papers with psychological terms that described outcomes that I’d seen associated with BWE on the web, in conferences and in the published and unpublished literature. After combining the two searches, and screening for those that were indeed articles addressing psychological outcomes of BWE, and those that passed some basic scientific criteria, we ended up with just 20 articles.

The psychological effects that had been examined in relation to BWE included cognitive functioning (we divided it into verbal, non-verbal, memory, attention and overall intelligence), stress (long and short-term), pain, headache/migraines, mood, behavior and pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). When two or more studies had examined similar outcomes, we placed them into tables for greater comparability. Thus we had five tables divided by cognitive functioning, stress, pain, headaches/migraines and mood. Studies used a variety of different frequency protocols and stimulation methods which are outlined in the tables.

Out of the 20 studies, 17 were actually developed to support or confirm a hypothesis, and of these, all found a positive effect in at least one outcome. And in each outcome mentioned, at least one study had a positive finding. What was remarkable was that for some outcomes, only one of several protocols had a positive effect, while others were improved by a variety of different protocols. The most consistent positive findings were found in attention (4/4 studies), pain (3/3 studies) and headache/migraines (3/3). While positive effects were found in all other outcomes examined except for mood, either fewer studies had been conducted or a smaller percentage of the protocols examined were effective. Mood was examined in the 3 studies where the effects of theta were examined on a variety of outcomes. So we believe that the ability of brainwave entrainment to positively effect mood has not been properly tested in the peer reviewed literature.

Overall, we conclude that brainwave entrainment shows real potential to positively affect psychological outcomes. However, more and bigger studies need to be done, using additional outcomes and outcomes already examined. We hope that we’ve provided the necessary background to inspire future research and collaboration, so that the field of brainwave entrainment can gain recognition and momentum in the scientific literature.

To view a copy of this article, visit:

http://www.transparentcorp.com/research/

Tina L. Huang, Ph.D.
Director of Research
Transparent Corporation

Anger, stress and healing time

The last few weeks have been taken up by my favorite part of this job: testing new equipment. I’ve been working on making the BioScan and EMWave (HeartMath) devices compatible with our Mind WorkStation software. We also received the latest LightStone hardware from Wild Divine. So, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time lately in stress-free biofeedback bliss.

But some of my fellow Columbus residents haven’t been so lucky.

In a recent study by Jean-Philippe Gouina, at our own Ohio State University, 98 Columbus residents valiantly lent their forearms to the cause of science, in order to confirm that high anger levels will likely increase the time it takes to heal:

A sample of 98 community-dwelling participants received standardized blister wounds on their non-dominant forearm. After blistering, the wounds were monitored daily for 8 days to assess speed of repair.

Individuals exhibiting lower levels of anger control were more likely to be categorized as slow healers. The anger control variable predicted wound repair over and above differences in hostility, negative affectivity, social support, and health behaviors. Furthermore, participants with lower levels of anger control exhibited higher cortisol reactivity during the blistering procedure. This enhanced cortisol secretion was in turn related to longer time to heal.

These findings suggest that the ability to regulate the expression of one’s anger has a clinically relevant impact on wound healing.

Find the study here.

So, next time your boss yells at you, or some guy cuts you off on the highway, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that they can’t heal as fast as you.

Short term vs long term meditation on attention and delta waves

The beneficial effects of meditation on general health are well known, but what is surprising to many researchers is its positive effect on attention.

Australian Neuroscientist Dylan DeLosAngeles measured the brainwaves of a 13-person meditation group as they progressed through five different meditative states. He expected to find a brain pattern that slowly moved toward sleep, or increased Delta waves.

Instead, he found that Delta waves actually decreased. The brainwaves of these meditators indicated a calm, attentive mind, as opposed to a sluggish or dazed one. Alpha waves increased during the first states of meditation analyzed, and later decreased as the meditators moved on to other states.

Last month another study was published on the meditation-attention link, this time analyzing the effects on inexperienced students after just 5 days of meditation training.  This is unique because most of research so far has been focused on experienced meditators.

Here is what they found:

Recent studies suggest that months to years of intensive and systematic meditation training can improve attention. However, the lengthy training required has made it difficult to use random assignment of participants to conditions to confirm these findings. This article shows that a group randomly assigned to 5 days of meditation practice with the integrative body–mind training method shows significantly better attention and control of stress than a similarly chosen control group given relaxation training. The training method comes from traditional Chinese medicine and incorporates aspects of other meditation and mindfulness training. Compared with the control group, the experimental group of 40 undergraduate Chinese students given 5 days of 20-min integrative training showed greater improvement in conflict scores on the Attention Network Test, lower anxiety, depression, anger, and fatigue, and higher vigor on the Profile of Mood States scale, a significant decrease in stress-related cortisol, and an increase in immunoreactivity. These results provide a convenient method for studying the influence of meditation training by using experimental and control methods similar to those used to test drugs or other interventions.

This matches the subjective reports I’ve received from people over the years. It doesn’t take long to see a noticeable effect. This is great news for meditation newbies, but don’t discount the beneficial effects of a long-lasting daily meditation routine. Neuroscientist Richard Davidson, of the University of Wisconsin, studied both experienced and novice meditators. He found long-time meditators to be less susceptible to “attentional blink”, which means they are able to distinguish between two closely spaced objects where other people can not. He also found that extremely experienced meditators showed less brain activation in response to distracting sounds, while showing more activity than novices in regions related to concentration.

The “Guardian Response”


In the realm of Brainwave Entrainment, the Guardian Response is enemy #1.

To give you an idea of what the Guardian Response is, there was a recent article in the Independent about Mind Machines, specifically the MindSpa. The author is pretty skeptical at first, and doesn’t really know what to expect. Not surprisingly, his first experience is not all that great. Here’s an excerpt:

The programme starts with a 10-second countdown that’s supposed to give me time to get comfortable, but instead makes me nervous. Three… two… one… suddenly 12 white LEDs in the glasses start flashing maniacally, while at the same time my ears are bombarded with a rhythmic electronic drone. I feel like I’ve been locked inside the engine room of the Starship Enterprise. Never mind Zen-like calmness – I fear the MindSpa is going to induce an epileptic fit. I try to relax and focus on my breathing but five minutes in I start feeling queasy. It’s time for a break.

According to Dr Ruth Olmstead, a psychologist and expert in “Auditory and Visual Stimulation” (AVS), I’ve experienced a “guardian response”. Olmstead, who developed the MindSpa programs for Californian firm A/V Stim, says: “The first time people try it they’re often too busy thinking about it to relax.”

Later on in the article, after some research and a few more tries, the author was able to bypass the Guardian Response and have a very pleasant experience with the technology.

Brainwave Entrainment (BWE) is not like drugs or alcohol – if you are not in a conducive emotional and physical state for relaxation, there is no amount of BWE that can make relaxation happen. If this is the case, the conflict between what the stimulation is trying to do, and your own resistance to it, often causes opposite effects such as anxiety, frustration, headaches or queasiness.

The Guardian Response can actually be due to a number of factors, such as lack of rapport with the therapist or conflicting beliefs.

Here is how David Siever describes this problem:

The guardian response, simply put, is a condition of anxiety that a person may develop when placed into a situation to which he/she feels apprehensive. The guardian response may be produced when a person is in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable setting or where that person is expected to engage in an activity which incites anxiety. Many people have a guardian response to dissociating. Because both L&S and AVE can produce dissociation, they may also elicit a guardian response in some individuals.

Clients may be concerned about being pressured to purchase a product or service, they may have uncomfortable feelings regarding their rapport with their “therapist.” Some may feel anxiety about doing a simple task such as performing a math question or even relaxing. A client may be nervous about using the equipment, or may feel too “exposed”. A client may be nervous about having “dark” thoughts or may have conflicting religious beliefs, moral values or medical beliefs prohibiting him/her from having a good BWE experience. In any of these cases, the client will probably develop a guardian response which will manifest itself as:

- uneasiness/tenseness
– squirming/fidgeting
– need to visit the washroom
– uncooperative
– refusal to relax
– refusal to drift away during a session
– refusal to complete a session
– high GSR activity
– an immediate “bad” experience
– poor, boring or sickening visuals

Often, an unsettled client can be comforted into having a better experience through conversation or by playing a relaxation tape. If the AVE concept, for some reason, conflicts with the person’s belief system, there is typically nothing that can be done except to end the session and thank the person for being there. This person may try a session a year or two later when his/her belief system is prepared for the AVE experience, at which time she/he will likely have an excellent experience.

The Guardian Response is the reason I have had such a frustrating time getting some of my friends and relatives to use BWE. I have a teenage relative who has always been very curious about the technology – when I demonstrate some new hardware or software to the family, she’ll always be the first to want to put it on and try it. The problem, of course, is that we’re usually not in an appropriate place for any type of relaxation, and she will feel the need to giggle or talk to her friends while using it.

The more skeptical beginners can have similar initial problems. Although very well studied, BWE is not yet mainstream. Therefore it is understandable that people would be skeptical at first. Beginners who are still in the process of researching the technology may find it hard to “let go” and allow the stimulation to take over. I make a special effort to present as much research as I reasonably can beforehand, but this is something that is hard to explain in a few paragraphs. Even Dr. Huang has mentioned problems with this. If you can get past this barrier, and convince them to give it an honest try, even the most cynical beginners will have very effective experiences. Some of the most dedicated users of BWE technology I know started out like this, including myself. Skepticism is healthy, and in the end won’t make a bit of difference from a neurological perspective. The trick is getting people to try it a few times.

Creating the first experience 

Luckily, most people interested in our products have done quite a bit of research and have already decided to make a concerted effort to try it. The real challenge then is creating a pleasant and convincing first experience. Presenting instructions and tips before every session is essential for beginners. Using background files like nature sounds or ambient music can help create a more familiar experience. Verbal guidance and induction scripts are also quite useful. We use a questionnaire (called a Wizard in NP2) that asks a series of questions about your personality, and what kind of sounds you prefer, and then gives recommendations based on data and feedback collected from thousands of users.

Even so, it can be a high-wire act trying to balance a user’s first experience with effectiveness and neural response. The user might have a relaxing first experience if there is so little entrainment that all you hear are nature sounds, but the actual neural effect of the session may be severely diminished. Did you know that the most effective audio entrainment is from clicks? Unfortunately, clicks are so abrasive sounding that they are completely unusable in commercial products, even for experienced users of BWE.

The Guardian Response is a real challenge; there is a lot of work to do to make everyone’s initial experience as fantastic as someone who has been using this technology for years. If you are a new user: remember to read everything you can beforehand. Before starting your session, listen to it for a few seconds. Does it sound relaxing to you? If not, customize the session to yourself. Consider your first session a mere experiment. Throw away any expectations or anxieties you have about it. Lay back, relax and let the stimulation do its work.

Brain Video: Inducing “Out-Of-Body” experiences using virtual reality goggles

This video describes a fascinating new way to induce a kind of out of body experience. Here is how it works:

In the Swiss experiments, the researchers asked volunteers to stand in front of a camera while wearing video-display goggles.

Through these goggles, the volunteers could see a camera view of their own back – a three-dimensional “virtual own body” that appeared to be standing in front of them.

When the researchers stroked the back of the volunteer with a pen, the volunteer could see their virtual back being stroked either simultaneously or with a time lag.

The volunteers reported that the sensation seemed to be caused by the pen on their virtual back, rather than their real back, making them feel as if the virtual body was their own rather than a hologram.

Even when the camera was switched to film the back of a mannequin being stroked rather than their own back, the volunteers still reported feeling as if the virtual mannequin body was their own.

[YouTube]4PQAc_Z2OfQ[/YouTube]

The researchers say their findings could have practical applications, such as helping take video games to the next level of virtuality so the players feel as if they are actually inside the game.

EEG research on psychedelics, or what your brain REALLY looks like on drugs

Here is an interesting study on the effects of psychedelics measured from an EEG. For those of you who lived throught he 60’s, this is what was happening to you.

Some of the results may not be what you expected.

Effects of a Psychedelic, Tropical Tea, Ayahuasca, on the EEG Activity of the Human Brain during a Shamanistic Ritual – MAPS Magazine, Spring 2001

By Erik Hoffmann, Jan M. Keppel Hesselink, Yatra-W.M. da Silveira Barbosa

Abstract
EEG data from 12 volunteers participating in a workshop in Brazil were recorded under field conditions before and after a shamanistic ritual in which the psychoactive tea, Ayahuasca, was consumed. Following three doses of the tea, the subjects showed strong and statistically significant increases of both EEG alpha (8-13Hz) and theta (4-8Hz) mean amplitudes compared to baseline while beta (13-20Hz) amplitudes were unchanged. The strongest increases of alpha activity were observed in the occipital lobes while alpha was unchanged in the frontal lobes. Theta amplitudes, on the other hand, were significantly increased in both occipital and frontal areas. Our data do not support previous findings of cortical activation with decreased alpha and increased beta activity caused by psychedelics (e.g. LSD, mescaline, psilocybin). They rather point to a similarity between the altered states produced by ayahuasca and marihuana which also stimulates the brain to produce more alpha waves. We suggest that these findings of increased EEG alpha and theta activity after drinking Ayahuasca reflect an altered state of consciousness. In this state the subjects reported increased awareness of their subconscious processes. This is an altered state comparable to, however more profound than, the meditative state. Ayahuasca seems to open up the individual to his feelings and provide personal, psychological insights, and thus it may be a valuable adjunct to psychotherapy.

Also an excerpt from the study:

EEG research of psychedelics.

The majority of EEG studies done on psychedelics appeared in the scientific journals some 30 years ago before these compounds were banned. Wikler (1954), Itil (1968) and Fink (1978) are all in agreement that psychedelics, regardless of the substance (LSD, mescaline, psilocybin), produce decreases in slow wave (alpha and theta) activity together with increases of fast (beta) activity. This low amplitude, desynchronized EEG pattern induced by psychedelics reflect an activation of the brain and is in opposition to the highly synchronized alpha pattern observed during deep relaxation. Fink (1978) found that regardless of the nature of the drug administered, EEG synchronization (alpha/theta waves) was associated with euphoria, relaxation, and drowsiness; while EEG desynchronization was associated with anxiety, hallucinations, fantasies, and illusions. Don et al. (1998) found an increase of high frequency beta (’40Hz’) with no significant change of alpha and theta activity in the EEG following the ingestion of ayahuasca. All the above studies indicate that most psychedelic compounds tend to suppress low EEG frequency activity (alpha and theta) and enhance beta activity reflecting an activation of the brain. However, other psychedelic-like compounds such as marihuana and MDMA (ecstasy) seem to have the opposite effect and increase alpha activity. In a recent, controlled placebo study, an increase of EEG alpha power, correlating with intense euphoria, was found after smoking marihuana (Lukas, et al., 1995).

Long-term effects of the use of psychedelics, using qEEG monitoring, have rarely been studied. However, in a recent study of 23 recreational MDMA users Dafters et al. (1999) found that the use of MDMA was positively correlated with absolute power in the alpha (8-12Hz) and beta (12-20Hz) frequency bands. These findings were supported recently by another study by Gamma et al. (2000) who found global increases of theta, alpha and beta power in a group of regular MDMA users compared to a control group.

You can download the full PDF version here.

Meditation sharpens the mind, attention, and the distribution of neural resources

Lots and lots of meditation“You can imagine that life is a series of attentional blinks, and we might be missing an awful lot of what’s going on.” 




This has been all over the news recently, so you might have already heard of it, but since it so relates to what we do I thought I would mention it here anyway.

A group of researchers from the University of Wisconsin have studied the effects of meditation on the brain’s ability to manage its attentional resources. Specifically, they studied the phenomenon known as “attentional blink”, or the inability of most people to discriminate between closely spaced visual targets.

Neuroscientist Richard Davidson explains:

Paying attention to facts requires time and effort, and since everyone only has a limited amount of brainpower to go around, details can get overlooked. For instance, when two pictures are flashed on a video screen a half-second apart, people often miss the second image.“Your attention gets stuck on the first target, then you miss the second one,” Davidson said. This is called “attentional blink,” an effect akin to how you might overlook something when you blink your eyes.

However, meditation appears to decrease this effect, sharpening the ability of the brain to focus attention and recognize targets rapidly.

Davidson studied volunteers before and after training in meditation. Specifically, they were trained in Vipassana meditation (which is often mentioned on our forums by the way).

They found that after meditation training, subjects required less time to spot details than before. Subjects were asked to discriminate between numbers flashed rapidly along with letters on a computer screen. To many people’s surprise, their ability to detect the second number improved within the “attentional blink” time frame.

In recent years, scientists have found meditation affects brain functions. For instance, research into Tibetan monks trained in focusing their attention on a single object or thought revealed they could concentrate on one image significantly longer than normal when shown two different images at each eye. Another study of people who on average meditated 40 minutes daily found that areas of their brains linked with attention and sensory processing became thicker.



I have read similar findings before. One example would be Habituation, or the tendency of the mind to give progressively weaker responses to sensory stimuli. Have you ever noticed how quickly you can become accustomed to sounds in your environment, to the point where you no longer even notice them? That is an example of habituation. It happens with the vast majority of people, but not as much with experienced meditators.

Here is a quote from Professor Shantha Ratnayake:

“To understand these phenomena let us imagine that a person who is reading quietly is suddenly disturbed by a loud noise. If the same sound is then repeated with a few seconds later his attention will again be diverted, only not as strongly nor for as long a time. If the sound is then repeated at regular intervals, the person will continue reading and become oblivious to the sound. A normal subject with closed eyes produces alpha waves on an EEG tracing. An auditory stimulation, such as a loud noise normally obliterates alpha waves for seven seconds or more; this is termed alpha blocking. In a Zen master the alpha blocking produced by the first noise lasts only two seconds. If the noise is repeated at 15 second intervals, we find that in the normal subject there is virtually no alpha blocking remaining by the fifth successive noise. This diminution of alpha blocking is termed habituation and persists in normal subjects for as long as the noise continues at regular and frequent intervals. In the Zen master, however, no habituation is seen. His alpha blocking lasts two seconds with the first sound, two seconds with the fifth sound, and two seconds with the twentieth sound. This implies that the Zen master has a greater awareness of his environment as the paradoxical result of meditative concentration.”




Here’s an article on the topic: http://www.livescience.com/health/070507_mental_training.html

Here’s a link to the University of Wisconsin study: http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0050138

Also mentioned in the article is what this research could mean for people with ADD/ADHD. Perhaps meditation will be part of a recommended regimen for people with ADD in the future.

Here is another interesting excerpt:

“One of the fundamental mysteries that is now becoming better understood as we go along but which is still a breakthrough area of research is neuroplasticity, the idea that we can literally change our brains through mental training,” Davidson told LiveScience. “Certain kinds of mental characteristics such as attention or certain emotions such as happiness can best be regarded as skills that can be trained.”

Happiness as a skill? What an amazing paradigm shift that would be for most people. :)



Brain Rhythms and Consciousness, and how Alpha may play a new role

Gamma waves are commonly associated with consciousness in the brain. In fact, Gamma is often called the frequency band of “higher consciousness”, because it is present when people are awake and paying attention, it is reduced during sleep, and disappears altogether during loss of consciousness such as when under anesthesia.

Gamma waves

A variety of cognitive activities have been associated with gamma (40 hz in particular) – attention, memory, facial recognition, REM sleep and the comprehension of new concepts, to name a few. Most importantly, gamma is thought to be important to binding, or the ability of the brain to combine all input, external and internal, into a single unified conscious experience.

High amplitude gamma is often exhibited by experienced meditators. An interesting study by Antoine Lutz, of the National Academy of Sciences USA, analyzed 2 groups of people while meditating. The first group consisted of students trained for a single week in meditation, while the second group had at least 15 years of meditation training and experience. Under an EEG, the experienced meditators exhibited far greater amounts of gamma amplitude and phase synchrony, leading many to believe that long-term meditation actually increases conscious awareness. (For those who are interested, this was during what is called “compassion meditation”, or a state of compassion not directed at any particular source. I wonder if the same result would be derived with other traditional types of meditation?)

Gamma frequencies and phase synchrony have even been tested in robotics and neural networks, lending some intriguing evidence to the gamma-consciousness theory – but that is a story for a different post.

In contrast, Alpha frequencies are usually associated with an idle, quiet mind. Alpha frequencies are increased when you close your eyes, day dream, or when your attention starts to wander. Therefore, Alpha has not really been considered a candidate for active participation in attention and consciousness.

But new evidence presents a different theory. A recent study by Palva and Palva, of the University of Helsinki, suggests that Alpha plays a crucial role in consciousness by interacting with other frequency bands. Alpha rhythms seem to “lock” on to other frequencies by synchronizing with their phase, and this appears to happen particularly with stimuli that are consciously perceived – something normally associated with Gamma!

The study also found that the presence of alpha prior to visual stimuli correlated with better cognitive performance. Chris Chatham, of Developing Intelligence, concludes that this is because alpha “calms the waters” in the cortex prior to receiving a visual stimulus, so that it can be more easily detected.

In prior studies, a higher Peak Alpha Frequency has been associated with greater intelligence and a more mature brain. In other words, it is good sign to have a peak alpha frequency in the 10-12 hz range rather than 7-9 hz.

It is interesting to note that a faster brain (more Beta) doesn’t always mean you will be smarter, in the same way a deep, quiet brain dominated by low frequencies isn’t always what you find when you analyze meditation. The more we look at how frequencies interact with each other, the more it seems that all frequencies play some role in a wide variety of tasks.