Newberg won't go so far, but other proponents of the new brain science do. Michael Persinger, a professor of neuroscience at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, has been conducting experiments that fit a set of magnets to a helmet-like device. Persinger runs what amounts to a weak electromagnetic signal around the skulls of volunteers. Four in five people, he said, report a "mystical experience, the feeling that there is a sentient being or entity standing behind or near" them. Some weep, some feel God has touched them, others become frightened and talk of demons and evil spirits. "That's in the laboratory," said Persinger. "They know they are in the laboratory. Can you imagine what would happen if that happened late at night in a pew or mosque or synagogue?" His research, said Persinger, showed that "religion is a property of the brain, only the brain and has little to do with what's out there." Those who believe the new science disproves the existence of God say they are holding up a mirror to society about the destructive power of religion. They say that religious wars, fanaticism and intolerance spring from dogmatic beliefs that particular gods and faiths are unique, rather than facets of universal brain chemistry.
Rather than discontinuing my meditation practice altogether, I instead began researching methods of increasing the effectiveness of meditative practice. This seemed an inevitable decision for me in light of the undeniable improvements I had witnessed in response to previous experience with meditation. This resulted in my eventual re-discovery of brainwave meditation programs brainwave synchronization. I had used a few different such products previously, but none that seemed effectively designed to meet my specific needs. After deciding to try a particular brainwave meditation program, I found it to greatly assist me in producing all of the previously experienced benefits of meditation, but in a shorter period of time and in a much more focused manner.
This research investigates the brainwave entrainment process and aims to demonstrate the usefulness of such an approach within the framework of cognitive performance improvements. In the introductory part the theories regarding the neurophysiological structure and the psychological processing of the cognitive system are discussed, for each of their components that are considered to be relevant for this research. The hypothesis states that the stimulation with binaural beats and stroboscopic light, synchronized at 10.2 Hz frequency, will produce a positive change in cognition. The research variables are the cognitive performance (the dependent variable) and the brainwave entrainment (the independent variable). The brainwave entrainment program consists in the synchronized application of Alpha binaural beats and stroboscopic light, at a 10.2 Hz frequency, in a 30 minutes long session. The difference was made by the stroop effect based exercise that was used as a frame. There were 60 participants, divided into two independent samples. The two independent samples t test for the means differences was used in the statistical analysis. The obtained results by evaluations and by statistics confirmed this research's hypothesis, stating that the stimulation with binaural beats and stroboscopic light, synchronized at 10.2 Hz frequency, will produce a positive change in cognition.
Brainwave Entrainment has been used possibly as far back as 200AD, where Ptolemy of the Ancient Greeks noted the effect of flicking sunlight created by a spinning wheel. The first recorded clinical application was by a French psychologist, who again used a spinning wheel but this time illuminated with a lantern instead of the sun. He noted that his patients appeared calmer when they looked into the flickering light, so he used it as a relaxation technique whenever it was needed.
OK – so some of this is pretty common marketing hype. Consumers have become almost numb to such hyperbole. But still we see some of the common – almost ubiquitous – elements of pseudoscientific scams. The company claims that the device is “effort-free”, that the results are “rapid and long-lasting,” that it is the “most effective” method of its kind, and that it is useful for a broad range of applications (hey, why limit the market). I am used to such hype about dishwashing detergent, but find it intolerable when applied to a pseudoscientific device with medical applications.
"These methods are often described as nondirective, because practitioners do not actively pursue a particular experience or state of mind. They cultivate the ability to tolerate the spontaneous wandering of the mind without getting too much involved. Instead of concentrating on getting away from stressful thought and emotions, you simple let them pass in an effortless way."
Binaural beats are an auditory illusion where two oscillators, slightly detuned from each other, are played simultaneously with one perceived by each ear. The human brain mixes the audio from each ear, and the listener perceives a "beating" effect that isn't actually there. This is a well-studied phenomenon that has gained the interest of audiologists and neurologists, but it's most famous for being picked up by the alternative medicine community as a way to get high.
Belief and faith, argue believers, are larger than the sum of their brain parts: "The brain is the hardware through which religion is experienced," said Daniel Batson, a University of Kansas psychologist who studies the effect of religion on people. "To say the brain produces religion is like saying a piano produces music." At the Fuller Theological Seminary's school of psychology, Warren Brown, a cognitive neuropsychologist, said, "Sitting where I'm sitting and dealing with experts in theology and Christian religious practice, I just look at what these people know about religiousness and think they are not very sophisticated. They are sophisticated neuroscientists, but they are not scholars in the area of what is involved in various forms of religiousness."
But we don't need any studies to tell us that different people can listen to different kinds of music and be affected. A lot of people who work out have a workout playlist on their iPod that keeps them energized. Some people listen to certain music to help them fall asleep. The Muzak company has built an industry on relaxing music that will keep people in the mood to shop. Music does affect our mood, and so we already have every reason to expect binaural beat recordings to produce the same effect. Different people may find certain binaural beats to be relaxing or energizing. But, we've never found any reliable indication that a binaural beat's connection to our brain is any deeper or more meaningful than any other music track. We do know for a reasonable certainty that specific claims made by most sellers of binaural beats are not credible, and that there is no reason to think that the effect they're claimed to produce will work for you.
Binaural beats by themselves are dull for some people to listen to. But with nature sounds or ambient music, as well as either white noise, pink noise, brown noise, mixed in with the binaural beats it is more pleasant to listen to longterm. Normally it will take about 6 minutes for the brain to start becoming entrained by the binaural beats. But it is best to listen to binaural beat recordings daily that are any where between 10 minutes to an hour long.
One larger and more recent randomized and controlled trial looked at the use of binaural beats in 291 patients admitted to the emergency department at a hospital. The researchers observed significant decreases in anxiety levels in patients exposed to audio with embedded binaural beats compared to those who listened to audio without binaural beats or no audio at all (headphones only).
I have received many requests for live sessions and personal support via telephone and video chat (Skype or Facetime). I am proud to announce that you can now schedule your own appointments with me for personal consultations, hypnosis sessions or any general counseling, questions or concerns about your specific needs, life coaching, self-help issues, dream guidance, spiritual matters or just random questions about consciousness or reality in general. I look forward to speaking with you on the phone or video chatting via Skype or Facetime.
Binaural beats require two separate tones from two sources that are combined inside the listener’s brain to form the target tone. The lower frequency sound is called the carrier tone, and it is combined with a higher frequency sound known as the offset tone. Because of this, binaural beats must be listened to with stereo headphones or the effect is lost. Binaural beats create a hypnotic effect, but they are not the most effective tool for brainwave entrainment, and binaural beats are often ineffective for people with hearing loss.
Results of this research proved that, indeed, the brain would entrain itself to the frequency equal to the difference between the two frequencies played. So if a subject listened to a 210 hertz tone in one ear and a 214 hertz tone in the other, the 4 hertz difference is the perceived “beat” that the brain, after listening for a while, will match itself to.
There’s an aesthetic element to the music and there are a lot of drone-based sounds and time-stretched sounds, deep, rich bass sounds—there’s a spectrum of sounds within there—and what’s more, there’s a load of 3D processing that goes on to ensure that the mind doesn’t become habituated to them. There’s also a constant, subtle sense, a slow and gradual sense, of the sounds shifting around. And, there are layers of binaural beats.
First of all, thank you for a most remarkable achievement. I have tried products in the past that purported to synchronize meditation-level brain waves — usually overlain by sappy new-age music composed by non-composers — and was invariably disappointed. However, I have been using your Equisync II and Equisync III recordings for a few weeks now and the results are truly astonishing and live up to the claims on your website.
Further research in the mid-1990s examined claims that binaural beats can provide the listener with an experience akin to that of taking recreational drugs, stop them from smoking, help them lose weight, and other similar claims (often referred to under the umbrella term “brainwave entertainment”). Unfortunately, at this time, science has not been able to definitively prove that these claims are true, although there is, in some cases, powerful anecdotal evidence suggesting that for some individuals, these beneficial effects are very much a reality.
Infra-Low brainwaves (also known as Slow Cortical Potentials), are thought to be the basic cortical rythms that underlie our higher brain functions. Very little is known about infra-low brainwaves. Their slow nature make them difficult to detect and accurately measure, so few studies have been done. They appear to take a major role in brain timing and network function.
You don't have to buy one, though. It's not too hard to make your own binaural beat, and free software is widely available to do just that. The one that I used to make that little sample is an open-source program called Gnaural, available on the Sourceforge website. It's pretty easy to use, though it takes some practice before you can generate some of the really cool, more professional sounding beats. A binaural beat consists of two simple tones, and most people add that background pink noise. Nothing special.