Using Binaural Beats to Alter Your Mind
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What are Binaural Beats?
Using Sound Waves to to Control Brainwaves
For years, binaural beats have been of interest to people experimenting with brain control Their perceived ability to manipulate behavior is almost unique in the scientific community. But what are binaural beats?
What is a Binaural Beat?
A binaural beat is a perceived sound that arises when two different waves are played in each ear. So, if if there is a 10 Hz difference in what each ear hears, the brain will hear a third frequency of 10 Hz. Originally discovered in the 19th Century, binaural beats have gained popularity as a way to control your brain.
As you think, your brain generates electromagnetic waves. These waves get converted into voltage changes across your scalp. There is some correlation between your mental state and what waves are being generated. Alpha waves, for example, are are associated with a state of relaxation.
Using a technique called biofeedback, a person can be trained to enter a specific state, as measured by their brainwaves. In biofeedback, a person is hooked up to an EEG machine which measures their brainwaves. The person is then instructed to try and enter a specific state. When the person is successful(whether it was through conscious effort or not), the person is rewarded. If this training is repeated enough, a person can enter a given state on command.
Binaural beats have the ability to guide a person to a state. It turns out that if the beats are synchronized with the frequency of the brainwaves, the brain will tend to follow any change in the binaural beat frequency. So if you want to relax, you would match the brain then slowly decrease the frequency.
Using Binaural Beats
The key to a successful binaural beat is in getting the brain to follow the beat’s pattern. If you are emanating 8 Hz waves and the binaural beat is at 20 Hz, your brain will not be entrained. The difference is too great. What is needed, then, is a steady rise or fall to the frequency you want. That way, when the frequency matches that of your brain, it will be pulled along with it.
The ability to manipulate mental state has proven to be quite popular outside of the lab. There are dozens of different pieces of software that utilize the phenomena, all claim the ability to control your mood and alertness level.
The Efficacy is Unknown
Brainwave entrainment with binaural beats is proven. What is unknown, however, is what effect entrainment has on your cognition. Brainwaves are not terribly well understood, and they are a simplification of all the electrical activity taking place in the brain as observed on your scalp. So it could be that entraining your brain to a particular frequency has little effect.
Fortunately, you can give binaural beats a try with little difficulty. A simple Google search will return dozens of products claiming to entrain your brain, some of which are even free. So feel free to experiment with binaural beats. Check for yourself whether they are effective. Who knows, they might just change your life!