You must log in or register to comment.

Wagamaga OP t1_j6t317y wrote

Scientists have shown for the first time that briefly tuning into a person’s individual brainwave cycle before they perform a learning task dramatically boosts the speed at which cognitive skills improve.

Calibrating rates of information delivery to match the natural tempo of our brains increases our capacity to absorb and adapt to new information, according to the team behind the study.

University of Cambridge researchers say that these techniques could help us retain “neuroplasticity” much later in life and advance lifelong learning.

“Each brain has its own natural rhythm, generated by the oscillation of neurons working together,” said Prof Zoe Kourtzi, senior author of the study from Cambridge’s Department of Psychology. “We simulated these fluctuations so the brain is in tune with itself – and in the best state to flourish.”


Rebelgecko t1_j6uwztl wrote

I am not a neuroscientist but the experiment and the headlines don't seem to line up to me

The control group had to do the visual task after the strobelight went off at random intervals. It seems like the study is making claims about how strobing visual tasks in synchronization with peaks/troughs of brainwaves improves performance... but the study didn't measure anyone's performance without the strobing to compare against?


Fleinsuppe t1_j6vglql wrote

Why do you think without the strobing is an important control? They are comparing synced vs. randomized, which might as well have been without, unless distracting.


Rebelgecko t1_j6vyiga wrote

My intuition is that exposing someone to a flashing light and then asking them to do a timed "where's Waldo" style exercise would actually harm their performance compared to doing it without any light at all. Obviously I could be totally wrong, but to a layman like me it seems like an odd thing to take for granted.


amoralhedgehog t1_j6ym48q wrote

That intuition applies in the same way to both groups, so both groups should receive it.


DentalBoiDMD t1_j6vnqnu wrote

how can they be so sure that randomized is equivalent to non-strobing? i mean you can't just assume that randomized = no strobing. you even said it yourself that it "might as well have been without", so you don't know for sure which leaves a huge hole in this experiment because it's already based off assumptions that aren't proven yet.

i feel like you'd want to find significance between normal non-strobing and strobing environments before you measure the differences between lights strobing at different rhythms. How can they verify that randomized strobes didn't decrease cognitive function instead of rhythms helping?

its like if i wanted to see if a program helped kids to better in school, it would be useless to test between different programs when im not sure how the students were doing before they started it



indoninja t1_j71w1kw wrote

>unless distracting.

Pretty big assumption


Ignorant_Ismail t1_j6ulq5m wrote

Seems like a miracle:

“Participants who received entrainment pulses matching the trough of their brainwaves had a learning rate that was at least three times faster than those who received other rhythms”


arcytech77 t1_j6tc562 wrote

Without an expensive setup, how can one measure their own internal tempo?


aurametrix t1_j6tp35r wrote

Nurosky headset is a little over $100, Muse are a little over $200. Open-source EEG devices ( OpenEEG) are under $100.


Killemojoy t1_j6unylm wrote

But could these be used to sync your brain waves similar to this study?


SnooPuppers1978 t1_j6up359 wrote

From the study if I understood correctly, all you need is a white box flickering on a dark background for 1.5s at your natural frequency before performing the task.

I wonder whether I should try to to feel it out before ordering the devices above. I could try different frequencies in the common range and perform some cognitive task to then feel how I'm performing.

Then after ordering the headset I could see if it matches

It should be in the range of 8hz - 12hz. I wonder if I can do it on my usual monitor and how accurate does it have to be in terms of timing?


Killemojoy t1_j6upirw wrote

Great questions that I myself am wondering.


SnooPuppers1978 t1_j6us22m wrote

I'm really excited now, first time I'm hearing of this type of EEG, BCI being a possibility and other things. Trying to figure out what I should buy.


MakeStupid t1_j6uqbco wrote

I'm no brain expert person but I mean surely they could be used that way. Coding with eeg isn't the hardest thing in the world. I am a very dumb engineer and I was able to use some brainwaves to turn on a lamp when you concentrate (it also played jimmy neutron saying Brian blast). So I think just getting a tempo from those values and doing the same thing with the black box and white background shouldn't be too difficult. I'll try it this weekend and dm you peeps if I can get it working if ya want.


First going to make the thing from the experiment with the whole EEG setup after I wrap up this current project I am about to finish. Then after I recreate the experiment, I'm flirting with the idea of testing to see if something similar would be possible without an EEG chip and just with a free website. Idk if this is possible at all (probably not) but depending on how strict the tempo has to be in sync with brain waves, if there was some kind of way to make your environment get your alpha waves within a certain range (maybe by playing relaxing music or just finding a way to zen out. Again no brain expert but maybe) then you could go off that tempo and have less efficient but still very effective results even without the eeg potentially? Idk a lot of testing will have to go into this but if that works, I would just release this thing for free so quick. (The hardest part of all of this is 100% going to be the testing because I'm not going to post or make anything without testing it 100 times to make sure it actually works well)


Killemojoy t1_j6uqoax wrote

Do keep us posted. Also interested in what the internal experience is like. As in, can you feel yourself consuming information faster?


MakeStupid t1_j6urpri wrote

Honestly I'm pretty interested in how it will work out. I'll see if I can try to somewhat replicate the experiment just with friends and whatnot. I might have a major placebo so I'll try to make friends test it and whatnot. Now I just have to find friends...(this might be harder than initially anticipated :<)


arcytech77 t1_j6uvoxc wrote

Can you make a github for your setup?


MakeStupid t1_j6uwhw3 wrote

It's not as professional looking or readable as I'd like because I was in a rush making this way back when, but here it is

It is pretty much just adjusting this older repository

(And also this one for the data visualization)

This might be a slightly different version of the same thing that plays meditation music until you are calm but same idea. I'll make it snazzier and easier to read soon


arcytech77 t1_j6vm864 wrote

Looks like you started this quite a while ago, how long has this been an area of study?


SnooPuppers1978 t1_j6urvne wrote

What did you exactly use to achieve that?


MakeStupid t1_j6utetr wrote

I used a mindflex and hooked the eeg chip up to an Arduino. Then sent in the data through the serial monitor Grab that data and convert it to a 1-100 scale. If the data read higher than the threshold I set before hand (I think I had it at 60 or something) then it meant you were focused which turned on a relay that was also connected to the Arduino which turned on the light. Then the computer just played jimmy neutron whenever this happened. It was actually fairly consistent, so I'm sure doing something kind of similar can replicate the experiment, maybe?


elunomagnifico t1_j6v564i wrote

Posted for the future. I'm open to being a part of it too, if we want to see how Bipolar people are affected.


TwoTerabyte t1_j6tda77 wrote

Interesting. Now tune a TMS machine to sync up with brain rhythms.


personman t1_j6vjbg4 wrote

I'm extremely confused by seemingly directly conflicting claims in the article, which no one seems to be discussing.

The experiment described, and the headline, seem to be about "syncing up" with a pulse at your alpha troughs. But then quotes from the scientists talk about "presenting information at your natural frequency", which seems to have nothing to do with the study at all? Like, the learning tasks weren't modulated based on the participant's rhythm at all, right?


alangcarter t1_j6wfc0x wrote

Perhaps procrastination is about waiting for the natural cycle to reach its optimal state for a complex task. People who are unaware of the difference would only see a pointless delay before proceeding with high performance work, causing misunderstanding.


srfrosky t1_j6umd0r wrote

So it seems if you know your natural pattern you can make better media choices. But can we alter that pattern? Does that pattern change over time? So many questions…


SnooPuppers1978 t1_j6usbgi wrote

What if throughout the day you keep this flickering thing going that you occasionally check out, would it be able to make you perform better for all that time?


elunomagnifico t1_j7t4vzs wrote

The stimuli (what you're trying to learn) would have to be presented during the trough of your alpha wave, which would be something you couldn't time without help.


AutoModerator t1_j6t2ueh wrote

Welcome to r/science! This is a heavily moderated subreddit in order to keep the discussion on science. However, we recognize that many people want to discuss how they feel the research relates to their own personal lives, so to give people a space to do that, personal anecdotes are allowed as responses to this comment. Any anecdotal comments elsewhere in the discussion will be removed and our normal comment rules apply to all other comments.

I am a bot, and this action was performed automatically. Please contact the moderators of this subreddit if you have any questions or concerns.


Cmdr_Redbeard t1_j6ur4iz wrote

Neat! I wonder what my brain runs at, provoke 3Hz?


ChaoticJargon t1_j6v2ov0 wrote

Seems like an excellent way to learn a new language.


Immortal_Tuttle t1_j6v6ot7 wrote

But that's known for decades. That's how binaural beats and the whole concept of hemi-sync works.


amoralhedgehog t1_j6yn3ti wrote

That's not really true.

Firstly, binaural beats and hemi-sync don't work. They have been widely researched and show no benefits in or out of clinical context. They are produced by the alternative medicine community and marketed as a method of essentially getting high.

Secondly, binaural beats and hemi-sync do not operate on frequencies that match individual brain oscillatory states. So this new research does not relate to them nor corroborate any claim of their benefits.


Immortal_Tuttle t1_j6yshv5 wrote

Interesting, as our university (biomed department actually) was doing research of influence of alpha brain frequencies on learning process in late 90s early 2000s. They were taking the EEG of a person to check for different bands and then they were stimulating person with the pure frequency or different percentage mix and checking how long the learning process took. As humans have problems with hearing infrasounds the audio stimulus was delivered via differential or modulated audio signals, the visual stimuli were delivered via precisely controlled LED light source (they were checking the shape of the wave controlling the LED - if I remember correctly a sinewave was giving the best results).

The difference with this new research was that they were using audio stimuli and the learning test was conducted during the stimulation, while in this new research the test was conducted immediately after the stimulus (and it was visual only). Audio stimulation is tricky as the frequencies are so low, so you have to use a carrier in the hearing range modulated with the frequency under test. IIRC they were testing a single ear, both ears with same signal and both ears with differential signal. And actually the differential signal was working (identical signal was working as well - it just had to be properly modulated - I don't remember if there was any difference in results between those two).

I am not saying that hemi-sync and other brands deliver what they promise, just that principle of stimulating brain with person's own frequencies was tested years ago and differential aural signal stimulus (known commonly as binaural beats for some reason) if matched with person's own frequencies can be used as a stimulus in this case.


amoralhedgehog t1_j71jyq9 wrote

Thanks for explaining. Some clear distinctions there!

In the summary of prior research (introduction here), I don't see any reference to anything from the 90s like what you were saying. Can you cite it?


imlaggingsobad t1_j6wvrje wrote

I think I'll wait for Andrew Huberman to make a video on this


HarkansawJack t1_j702soh wrote

Where are the chakra deniers now???!


108awake- t1_j6xab0x wrote

You can do it with meditation