I browsed my psychology feed this morning and found an interesting article about brainwaves and learning.
Scientists at MIT were studying the brains of rats as they learned how to navigate through a maze. They found that during the first few trials there was a lot of activity in high-frequency brainwaves, including beta waves (between 13-30 cycles per second) and gamma waves (between 30-100 cycles per second).
Once the rats learned the maze, activity in these brainwaves decreased. This suggests that high frequency brainwaves are associated with learning and memory. And once the task was learned, future trials showed the rats were in a much more relaxed and low frequency brain state. This is because the brain no longer needed those high frequency brainwaves to help focus on the task. In other words, it has became second-nature.
Remember when you first learned how to tie your shoes and you really had to focus? Your brain was probably pumping out gamma waves to help you concentrate on the task as best as possible – until you got it. Now, however, you can probably tie your shoes without focusing at all, because the task is already committed to memory. This is how most new habits are learned.
This fits well with other research on brain waves. Beta waves and gamma waves have frequently been found to be associated with increased focus and concentration, a faculty of our minds that also aids in learning and retaining information.
Interestingly, for the past month and a half I’ve been using an audio program named Laser Focus, which uses a technology called brainwave entrainment. The goal of entrainment is to sync your mind up to certain brainwaves using binaural beats.
A binaural beat is when you play one frequency in one ear and another frequency in another ear. The difference between the two frequencies is the frequency your mind syncs with.
For example, playing 300Hz in your right ear and 340Hz in your left ear will produce brainwaves at 40Hz (the beginning of gamma waves).
The “Laser Focus” audio is designed to produce high frequency brainwaves in the gamma and beta range. I listen to it every other day for about an hour, usually while reading or writing.
I’ve personally found it helpful for increasing my energy, focus, and concentration throughout the day. Anyone who knows me usually knows I’m pretty sluggish and lazy. But now I’m learning more and getting more done. And since listening to it, I’ve even begun to wake up earlier and stay up later.
Now I’m not sure just how much of it can be attributed to the binaural beats, but I’ve definitely noticed a peak in my attention and productivity since I started it. If you want, you can try out a free sample here and see if it works for you.
I’m also interested in any other brainwave entrainment programs you guys may use. I’m always looking forward to trying new ones.