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Abstract

The research explored the effect of binaural beats on working memory capacity (WMC). When the binaural beat beats with the frequency that corresponds to the state of alpha wave range, then it is believed that the overall brain activity changes accordingly. Brainwave activity within the alpha range has been generally correlated with many cognitive functions along with working memory improvement. Therefore, in this study it is assumed that binaural beat corresponding to alpha wave range will enhance subsequently WMC. In the following study, participants were divided into two groups. One group underwent a binaural beat stimulation while listening to the sound of the sea. The other group was listening solely to the sound of the sea without binaural beat stimulation. We measured baseline and post-stimulation working memory capacity using the OSPAN method. As expected, only participants from the binaural beat group showed an improvement in WMC.
STUDIA PSYCHOLOGICA, 57, 2015, 2 135
THE EFFECT OF BINAURAL BEATS ON
WORKING MEMORY CAPACITY
Jakub KRAUS1, Michaela PORUBANOVÁ2
1Katedra psychologie, Faku lta sociálních studií, Masarykova Univerzita
Joštova 10, 602 00 Brno, Czech Republic
E-mail: 397885@mail.muni.cz
2 Farmingdale State College - SUNY, Farmingdale, New York, USA
Abstract: The research explored the effect of binaural beats on working memory capacity (WMC).
When the bina ural beat beats with the frequency tha t corresponds to the state of alpha wave
range, then it is believed that the overall brain activity changes accordin gly. Brainwave activity
within the alpha range has been generally correlated with many cognitive functio ns along with
working memory improvement. Therefore, in this study it is assumed that binaural beat corre-
sponding to alpha wave rang e will enhance subsequently WMC. In the following study, partici-
pants wer e divi ded into two groups. One group underwent a binaural beat stimula tion while
listening to the sound of the sea. The other grou p was listening solely to the sound of the sea
without bina ura l beat stimulation. We measured baseline and post-stimulation working memory
capacity using the OSPAN method. As expected, only participants from the binau ral beat group
showed an improvement in WMC.
Key wo rds: binaural beat s, working memory capacity, Operation Spa n Task, alpha frequency,
brainwave
Introduction
It has been suggested that cognitive and
executive functioning is accompanied by
specific brain wave oscillations. Overall, the
brain activity within alpha rhythm (7.512.5
Hz in adults) has been associated with vigi-
lance, inhibitory processes, attention, work-
ing memory, perceptual abilities and infor-
mation processing speed (Braboszcz &
Delorme, 2011; Clark et al., 2004; Freunberger
et al., 2011; Lachat et al., 2012; Oprisan, 2004;
Palva & Palva, 2007; VanRullen & Koch,
2003). For instance, an increase in the capac-
ity of working memory (a greater number of
retained and recalled items) was accompa-
nied by a higher amplitude of alpha oscilla-
tions (Sauseng et al., 2009). Also, according
to some authors, the oscillations in alpha
rhythm indirectly enhance performance in
working memory capacity in such a way that
they filter out irrelevant information and pre-
vent disr uptions caused by conflicting
stimuli (Klimesch et al., 2007; Rihs et al., 2007;
Tuladhar et al., 2007).
Other studies looked at the extent to which
the induction of specific brain waves can al-
ter subsequent cognition. One way of en-
suring induction of electrical activity in the
brain is through binaural beats (BB) (e.g.,
Kasprzak, 2011; Nozaradan et al., 2011; On et
al., 2013). BB are defined as subjective audi-
Ac knowledgm ents
The authors thank Davi d Brock er for hel ping
wit h the rea lizat io n and administr ation of the
experi ment.
DOI: 10.21909/sp.2015.02.689
136 STUDIA PSYCHOLOGICA, 57, 2015, 2
tory sensations caused by presenting tones
of slightly different frequencies separately
to each ear. As a result, a listener perceives a
sound with an amplitude that changes with
a frequency equal to the difference of fre-
quency in the presented tones (Kasprzak,
2011), and these two frequencies are inte-
grated at the cortical level into the above-
mentioned binaural beat (Ozimek, 2002). Spe-
cifically, BB can alter the functioning of the
reticular formation, a neural network system
in the brainstem responsible for regulation
of vigilance, concentration and attention
(Wahbeh, Calabrese, & Zwickey, 2007). Bin-
aural beats stimulation can, through changes
in the reticular formation, enhance the pro-
cessing of presented information (Wahbeh,
Calabrese, & Zwickey, 2007). Following this
logic, if the difference in the frequencies of
the two tones, which produce the resulting
binaural beat, corresponds to a certain
brainwave state (e.g., 130 Hz – 110 Hz = 10
Hz = alpha range – 7.5 – 12.5 Hz), then the
overall brain activity should subsequently
maintain that state (Sornson, 1999). Some re-
searchers call this process hemispheric syn-
chronization and assume that, by means of
exposing an individual to binaural beat, the
electrical activity of both hemispheres merges
to one synchronized activity with an overall
frequency that represents the difference of
the two originally presented tones (e.g., Fos-
ter, 1990; Kennerly, 1994).
Several studies have looked at the possible
effects of binaural beats within the alpha
range on cognitive abilities. A significant
improvement in cognitive processing, as
measured by the Stroop Effect exercise, was
found by a BB stimulation of 10.2 Hz fre-
quency (Cruceanu & Rotarescu, 2013).
Carter and Russell (1993) exposed 8 to 12 year
old boys with learning disabilities to 8-week
long 10 and 18 Hz BB stimulation sessions,
and they found an improvement in Raven’s
progressive matrices and in a subtest of au-
ditory sequential memory (Carter & Russell,
1993). McMurray (2006) assessed the effect
of 7 and 11 Hz BB on alpha brainwave activ-
ity, working memory, and attention in healthy
elderly people, who are known for experienc-
ing gradual decrease in physiological alpha
activity. The 2 minutes exposure to BB re-
sulted in an altered electrical activity in the
brain. Concretely speaking, the changes oc-
curred within the alpha brainwave activity.
Moreover there were improvements in For-
ward and Backward Digit Span Memory
Tasks, and in a version of the Continuous
Performance Task. Contrary to the previous
results, Wahbeh et al. (2007) documented a
significant deterioration in the Rey Auditory
Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT), as a conse-
quence of stimulation by a 7 Hz frequency
BB in durations of 30 minutes. It thus appears
that BB’s possible positive effects on cogni-
tive functions depend on many factors.
These factors may be the specific frequency
of BB; the targeted population - because it is
known that older people have different qual-
ity of brainwave activity than, e.g., young-
sters (Bazanova & Aftanas, 2008; Clark et al.,
2004), and the tests used to detect the pos-
sible changes in working memory capacity.
Based on the research showing a positive
impact of alpha-range BB on cognitive func-
tioning, specifically attention, auditory se-
quential memory, working memory, working
memory storage, reasoning ability, cognitive
processing and hemispheric synchroniza-
tion, (Carter & Russell, 1993; Cruceanu &
Rotarescu, 2013; Foster, 1990; Kennerly, 1994;
McMurray, 2006) as well as on the wealth of
research documenting the important role of
alpha brain wave activity on vigilance, in-
STUDIA PSYCHOLOGICA, 57, 2015, 2 137
hibitory processes, attention, filtering out
irrelevant information working memory, the
visuo-spatial component of working memory,
perceptual abilities and information process-
ing speed (Braboszcz & Delorme, 2011; Clark
et al., 2004; Engle et al., 1999a; Freunberger
et al., 2011; Klimesch et al., 2007; Lachat et
al., 2012; Oprisan, 2004; Palva & Palva, 2007;
Rihs et al., 2007; Sauseng et al., 2009;
Tuladhar et al., 2007; VanRullen & Koch,
2003), we believe that BB of a frequency that
corresponds to the alpha range of brain ac-
tivity has a temporary effect on working
memory capacity.
In our study, subjects were exposed to 9.55
Hz BB stimulation while we measured their
working memory capacity through the Au-
tomated Operation Span Task (AOSPAN).
The goal was to explore possible temporary
improvements in working memory as a con-
sequence of alpha-range BB stimulation.
Method
Participants
In total, 50 university/college students
participated in the study. Each participant
was randomly assigned to either an experi-
mental or control group. Ten participants
were rejected from further analysis for either
failing to reach an 85% limit of correctly
solved mathematical operations in AOSPAN
or achieving 0 in the Ospan score. The rejec-
tion of these participants is fully in accor-
dance with the instructions from the authors
of this method Unsworth, Heitz, Schrock &
Engle (2005).
The final sample of participants included
40 students (M Age = 21.63 years; 29 (72.5%)
were women) with an effect size of d = 1.06
and statistical power of 0.95.
The experiment was approved by an Insti-
tutional Review Board (IRB) at Farmingdale
State College, NY, USA.
Instruments
Automated Operation Span Task
The Operation Span Task measures work-
ing memory capacity as defined by Engle et
al. (1999a). Unsworth, Heitz, Schrock and
Engle (2005) developed a computer-admin-
istered AOSPAN which works automatically.
The test consists of a training period and
the actual test. The training allows for the
elimination of the testing effect.
During the task, a person is asked to retain
randomly presented series of 3 to 7 defined
letters (F, H, J, K, N, P, Q, R, S, T and Y). The
letters are presented one at a time for 800
milliseconds. After the presentation of each
letter, a simple mathematical equation ap-
pears on the screen. Here is an example equa-
tion: (2*3) + 7 = ?
The participant has to assess whether the
proposed solution is correct. The mathemati-
cal operation is presented to each partici-
pant for a specific amount of seconds calcu-
lated from his/her individual tempo as mea-
sured during his/her individual rehearsal task
+ 2 SDs. Afterwards, a letter comes up for
800 ms. This process is presented anywhere
between 3 and 7 times. Afterwards, a set of
letters (a table of all possible letters) is pre-
sented to the participant. The participant has
to choose the letters that were presented in
that trial.
The whole task consists of 3 series of each
set size. The set sizes range from 3 to 7 let-
ters plus the mathematical operations. In to-
tal, 75 letters and 75 mathematical operations
are administered to the participant.
138 STUDIA PSYCHOLOGICA, 57, 2015, 2
Furthermore, the results are obtained only
from those participants who meet the 85%
accuracy criterion in solving the mathemati-
cal operations. This criterion serves for the
purpose of dealing with the possible prob-
lem of participants concentrating only on
remembering the letters while ignoring the
mathematical operations.
Figure 1. Illustration of AOSPAN task. At first, participant is presented with a mathematical
operation. After solving of the operation, participant clicks with a mouse button and an
offered answer displays on screen. If one thinks that the offered answer is right, than he/she
selects “true”, if not than he/she selects “false”. Subsequently, in the middle of the screen
appears a letter which remains there just for 800 milliseconds. Then the program offers a
matrix of letters, where the participant has to select letters, which he or she had to remember
in the correct order. At last, participant is presented with a feedback, where he or she finds
out about his/hers success in the concrete sequence (remembered letters and correctly
answered mathematical operations). The illustration of the AOSPAN task presented here is
adapted from Unsworth et al. (2005).
STUDIA PSYCHOLOGICA, 57, 2015, 2 139
After completing the AOSPAN task, two
scores related to the assessment of working
memory capacity were computed.
The first score, the Ospan score, has an
absolute scoring method, and it represents
the sum of all correctly recalled sets of let-
ters in the correct order. So, for instance, if a
participant correctly recalls 3 letters in a set
size of 3, 4 letters in a set size of 4, and 3
letters in a set size of 5, his/her Ospan score
would be 7 (3 + 4 + 0) (Unsworth et al., 2005).
The second additional score reflects the
total number of errors made solving the math-
ematical operations. This score consists of
“speed errors” and “accuracy errors”. Speed
errors are errors made due to the participant
not solving the task within the time limit. The
accuracy errors score reflects incorrectly
solved operations.
For the purposes of this study, the score
used most in the analysis was the first Ospan
score. It is a score, which is stable in terms of
test-retest reliability when repeating the test
after few minutes (r = 0.77 – 0.79; Turley-
Ames & Whitfield, 2002), weeks (0.82; Klein
& Fiss, 1999), or months (0.76; Klein & Fiss,
1999). Other sources in relation to this score
present even higher test-retest reliability
(r = 0.83; Unsworth et al., 2005).
Further, when comparing two versions of
the OSPAN task, which differ in the diffi-
culty of the mathematic operations, rela-
tively high correlations ranging from 0.7 to
0.8 were observed (Conway & Engle, 1996;
Lehto, 1996). This information is important,
because in our study, participants had to
solve two AOSPAN tasks during a short
period of time.
In this study, the AOSPAN task used was
identical to that which was created and de-
scribed by Unsworth et al., (2005) and was
scripted in a MATLAB program (version 8.1).
Binaural Beats Stimulation
As stated above, BB is defined as a sub-
jective auditory sensation, which occurs
when two tones of slightly different fre-
quency are presented separately to each ear.
A listener then experiences a resultant sound
with an amplitude which changes with a fre-
quency equal to the difference in the fre-
quencies of presented tones (Kasprzak,
2011). Two tones of the frequencies of 230
and 220.45 Hz were generated through the
Audacity Program via stereo headphones
presenting a different tone to each ear. The
frequency of the BB is equal to the differ-
ence between the used frequencies (9.55 Hz
- alpha range).
Two different recordings were created.
The first contained a BB at the frequency of
9.55 Hz, plus an overlapping sound (the
sound of the sea). This overlapping sound
is important so that the participants do not
fully perceive the BB. Similar overlapping
sounds are common in BB literature (e.g.,
Wahbeh et al., 2007). Further, the use of neu-
tral overlapping sounds (sounds of rain,
wind, water) seem more appropriate than any
recording meant for meditation, relaxation or
other aims, which may themselves cause
changes in cognition (e.g., Hodges, 2010;
Pelletier, 2004; Rickard, Wong, & Velik, 2012).
The second recording included only the
above-mentioned sound of the sea without
the BB component. Both recordings lasted
12 minutes and were, with the exception of
the presence/absence of the BB, identical.
In McMurray’s (2006) experiment, partici-
pants could not distinguish between two
such recordings, though in her and other BB
studies, the authors do not explicitly describe
the exact volume of the BBs in terms of their
140 STUDIA PSYCHOLOGICA, 57, 2015, 2
total inaudibility. None of the participants in
this experiment reported an awareness of such
sounds when asked after the experiment took
place.
Procedure
All participants signed an Informed Con-
sent form and indicated no history of sei-
zures and epilepsy. Participants were told
they would be involved in a memory study
while being exposed to a break in which they
would listen to music, and they were not
aware of the purpose of the study.
The baseline measure of the AOSPAN was
obtained at the beginning of the experiment.
After the first completion of the AOSPAN,
participants were randomly assigned to ei-
ther music with a BB or music without a BB.
All participants then listened to a 12 minute-
long recording of one of the recordings. Af-
ter those 12 minutes they were asked to re-
take the AOSPAN.
Both the experimental and control group
were exposed to the same procedure with the
exception of the inclusion of BB in the music
in the experimental condition. Completing the
experiment took approximately 50 minutes.
Results
We were interested in understanding the
effect of BB stimulation on the Ospan score.
The baseline Ospan score was subtracted
from the post-BB/music exposure Ospan
score. The resulting score provides informa-
tion about the change in Ospan score as a
result of exposure to the music/BB. For clar-
ity, this score will be referred to as SOS
(Substracted Ospan Score).
Additionally, the total number of math-
ematical errors in the AOSPAN was used in
the analysis. This score was obtained by
subtracting the total number of mathemati-
cal errors obtained in the first AOSPAN task
from the total number of mathematical errors
The mean differences in SOS between groups
-2,45
4,6
-15
-10
-5
0
5
10
15
expe rim e ntal contro l
Group
Mea n SOS
Diagram 1. The diagram shows mean differences in SOS between groups
STUDIA PSYCHOLOGICA, 57, 2015, 2 141
obtained in the second AOSPAN task. The
score informs about the improvement/dete-
rioration in making arithmetic errors after
participants completed the second AOSPAN
task. This score will be further labeled as
SNME (Substracted Number of Mathemati-
cal Errors).
In order to com pare differences in
AOSPAN scores between the experimental
and control condition, an independent t-test
was used.
The variances of the SOS score in the ex-
perimental and control groups were equal,
F(1, 38) = 2.16, p > 0.05. On average, partici-
pants from the experimental group received
a higher SOS (M = 4.60; SE = 1.95) than the
participants from the control group (M =
-2.45; SE = 2.55). This difference was statisti-
cally significant t(38) = 2.20, p = 0.017 (one-
tailed); representing a medium-sized effect
r = 0.34.
Participants in the experimental condition
did not differ from those in the control con-
dition in terms of SNME; M = - 0.20; SE= 0.72
versus M= - 0.15, SE= 0.65., t(38)= -0.05, p >
0.05.
Discussion
The goal of the study was to observe the
effect of exposure to BB on working memory
capacity. As suggested by many studies,
BBs corresponding to alpha brain waves can
positively influence cognitive processing,
namely attention, auditory sequential
memory, working memory, working memory
storage, and reasoning ability (Carter &
Russell, 1993; Cruceanu & Rotarescu, 2013;
Foster, 1990; Kennerly, 1994; McMurray,
2006).
The results show that a BB of the fre-
quency of 9.55 Hz – which is a representa-
tion of the alpha frequency range of the brain
activity – had a temporary positive effect on
working memory capacity in our sample of
healthy, adult university students.
Lim, Quevenco, and Kwok (2013) state that
in tasks testing higher cognitive functions,
such as working memory, increased alpha
activity is positively associated with quality
performance (Doppelmayr et al., as cited in
Lim, Quevenco, & Kwok, 2013). In the re-
search of Lim et al. (2013), lower delta and
theta activities, which are associated with
fatigue, were recorded in participants who
were given a break in comparison to those
participants who were not. DeLuca (2005a)
defines fatigue as a result of intense and last-
ing exertion caused by cognitive effort. The
break prevented the effects of fatigue and
allowed participants to relax. Several stud-
ies showed a connection between alpha
brainwave activity and relaxed states (e.g.,
Lagopoulos et al., 2009; Newberg et al., 2001;
Stinson & Arthur, 2013). Lim et al. (2013) ob-
served improved performance in an auditory
oddball task (sustained attention and its ca-
pacity) in participants who underwent the
break, while the performance of the control
group deteriorated. These individual differ-
ences were correlated on one hand with the
decreasing delta and theta activity, and on
the other hand with increase in alpha activ-
ity during the break (Lim et al., 2013).
In our research, participants were similarly
provided a break from a cognitively demand-
ing task, i.e., working memory capacity task.
The break was represented by the 12-min-
utes of listening to the sounds of the sea,
during which the participants were sup-
posed to relax. In our case, the break influ-
enced each participant differently; in those
exposed to BB, we assume it supported the
alpha synchronization. Therefore, based on
142 STUDIA PSYCHOLOGICA, 57, 2015, 2
the previous research (Klimesch et al., 2007;
Lagopoulos et al., 2009; Newberg et al., 2001;
Rihs et al., 2007; Stinson & Arthur, 2013;
Tuladhar et al., 2007), we assume that the
alpha synchronization might have induced a
state of relaxation, which might have helped
to filter out irrelevant information and im-
proved participants’ performance in working
memory tasks while performance of the con-
trol group deteriorated.
The results of our research support the
findings of McMurray (2006) and Carter
and Russell (1993). McMurray (2006) had
older adults listen to a 2-minute track includ-
ing alternately BBs of 7 and 11 Hz and found
a significant improvement in their attention
and working memory. Carter and Russel
(1993) explored the effects of BBs on vari-
ous cognitive processes in boys with learn-
ing deficits. During several 25-minute ses-
sions, the participants were alternately stimu-
lated by audiovisual, as well as solely by
BBs with frequencies of 10 and 18 Hz. Boys
exposed to BB stimulation showed an in-
creased performance in Raven’s progressive
matrices and in a subtest of auditory sequen-
tial memory. Huang and Charyton (2008) in-
vestigated and evaluated the data from all of
the available research studies which dealt
with brain stimulation of any form (not just
BB). They came to the conclusion that just
one session of such stimulation may be ben-
eficial for immediate states of memory, atten-
tion, stress, pain, and migraine (Huang &
Charyton, 2008). Our work is consistent with
this finding.
The results of our work expand on the
above-mentioned findings. To the best of our
knowledge, this was the first time a BB of the
frequency of 9.55 Hz was experimentally stud-
ied in the context of working memory em-
ploying the Operation Span Task (AOSPAN).
Unsworth et al. (2005) compared the score
of 78 participants who solved the AOSPAN
task two times over several days. Within the
Ospan score, he observed an increase of
about 1 point. On the other hand, the results
from the control group in our study suggest
just the opposite trend. The participants’
scores deteriorated as a result of exposure
to only music. A possible explanation could
be the above-mentioned effect of fatigue.
Increasing fatigue subsequently affects the
degradation of performance in cognitive
tasks (Kato et al., 2009; Lorist, 2008). Partici-
pants spent approximately 40 minutes from
the total duration of the experiment solving
the AOSPAN tasks. However, participants
exposed to BB just for 12 minutes, showed
an improvement in their working memory
capacity on average by 4.6 points in their
Ospan score.
As mentioned above, our participants
showed an average 4.6 points improvement
after the second AOSPAN task as a result of
BB stimulation. If we think again of the scor-
ing method used, we will find that individu-
als from the experimental group improved by
about one set from the total of 15 sets. Since
in the test sets of 3 to 7 letters (= 3 to 7 points)
were used and the points were gained only
when participant answered the whole set
correctly, we can assume that the above-
mentioned 4.6 points represent approximately
one set. This represents an improvement of
almost 7%, which is a relatively decent
growth since the participants were young
and healthy university students whose cog-
nitive functioning is presumably at its apex.
One could surmise that patients with memory
deficits could show even greater improve-
ment. In terms of the control group, we may
assume that this group either remained un-
changed, by means of measured perfor-
STUDIA PSYCHOLOGICA, 57, 2015, 2 143
mance, or deteriorated by the maximum of
one set on average (deterioration of 2.45
points). Thus, the ultimate difference be-
tween the experimental and control group
represents the difference of 1-2 correctly re-
called sets, roughly a range of 7 13 %. While
the experimental group improved by an av-
erage of slightly more than one remembered
letter, the control group deteriorated by al-
most 3 letters in total. The overall mean dif-
ference between the two groups was, thus
on average, 4 correctly recalled letters.
For an assessment of working memory ca-
pacity, it seems crucial to be able to recall the
whole set of letters. For a participant to be
successful in this task, s/he should be able
to actively navigate his/her attention, and to
store and activate the presented information
(letters) while solving each set (Engle,
Tuholski, & Kane, 1999a).
Our results illustrate that although the par-
ticipants from the experimental group im-
proved in their capacity of working memory,
their performance in solving mathematical
operations was unaffected by the exposure
to the BB. However, one should not expect
a significant improvement in the mathemati-
cal task performance since it serves as a dis-
tractor or filler in the controlled attention.
Although overall capacity of working mem-
ory may be improved by BB stimulation, the
processing of distracting stimuli such as solv-
ing of the mathematical operations probably
remains unchanged, as this is not the indica-
tor of working memory capacity in its own
right but it is just a method to challenge/
measure it (Engle et al., 1999a).
The results of our research indicate that
the BB may positively affect retention,
attentional control, the storage and the acti-
vation of information, which contribute to
memorization of that information.
It would be interesting to see what results
would be achieved by individuals with
memory or other cognitive deficits, older in-
dividuals or people without university/col-
lege experiences. From the point of external
validity, it is important that any other future
research in this area should be realized in as
heterogeneous population as possible. Also,
it would be appropriate to extend the time
period between the solving of the two
AOSPAN tasks to some extent, so that the
potential effect of fatigue or an immediate
training effect would be minimized.
Conclusion
The results of our study illustrate that BB
frequencies corresponding to alpha range of
brain activity had a temporary positive ef-
fect on the capacity of working memory. Par-
ticipants undergoing a 12-minute BB stimu-
lation of 9.55 Hz frequency, achieved a sig-
nificant increase in the capacity of their work-
ing memory in comparison to a control group
which was not exposed to BB stimulation.
Received October 7, 2014
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VPLYV BINAURAL BEATS NA KAPACITU PRACOVNEJ PAMÄTE
J. K r a u s, M. P o r u b a n o v á
hr n: Výskum sa zaobera l vplyvom binaural beats na ka pacitu pracovnej pate (WMC) .
Pokiaľ aplikovaný binau ral beat zodpov edá frekvenčnému stavu, ktorý je chara kteristický pre
alfa frekvenčný rozsah mozgových vĺn, tak sa predpokladá, že by aj celk ová mozgová aktivita
mala následne v určitej miere udržiavať tento stav. Mozgová aktivita v rámci alfa rozsahu je vo
vše obecnost i ko relov aná s vi acerými kognitívn ymi funkcia mi, medzi inými aj s pracov nou
pamäťou. V nasledujúcej práci je preto vyslovený predpoklad, že binaural beat o alfa frekvencii
by následne mohol posilniť WMC. V tejto štúdii boli participanti rozdelení do dvoch skupín. Prvá
skupina podstúpila binaural beat stimuláciu počas počúvania zvukov mora. Druhá počúvala len
zvuky mora bez binaural beat stimulácie. Pomocou testovej metódy Operation span task (OSPAN)
sme merali východiskovú a post-stimulačnú kapacitu pracovnej pamäte. V súlade s očakávaniami,
len parti cipan ti, ktorí podstúpili binaural beat stimuláciu, preukázali zlepšenie v rámci WMC.
... Unlike their results, Ortiz et al. [29] (who evaluated the effects of binaural beats before and during the task (for a total of 15 minutes a day, for 5 days) on verbal working memory) observed an improved function under theta frequencies compared to beta binaural beats or white noise. As another addition to the dispute, Kraus and Porubanova [30] assessed the influence of 12-minute sessions of binaural beats at 9.55 Hz merged with the sound of the sea compared to a 12minute control sound of the sea alone while examining the 2 BioMed Research International working memory performance using the Automated Operation Span Task (AOSPAN). The binaural beat intervention improved the working memory of participants. ...
... Also, the mean deltas of visuospatial A ′ as well as visuospatial spatial working memory were negative in most groups, except for the 10 Hz BB group whose delta values were positive, indicating that the variables visuospatial A ′ and working memory increased in the second half of the 10 Hz block relative to its first half-and these differences among the groups were significant. Our findings in terms of suitability of alpha-band binaural beats (in the visuospatial modality) were in line with another study comparing 9.55 Hz binaural beats versus control [30]. On other cognitive domains, some studies have also shown favorable results concerning alpha binaural beats: a study showed improvements in Stroop test performance as a result of 10.2 Hz binaural beat stimulation [36]. ...
... McMurray [38] showed that brain stimulation with alpha binaural beats may improve both attention and working memory in healthy elderly who may naturally experience decreased alpha activity. Higher amplitudes of alpha brain waves might be associated with improved working memory, attention, vigilance, information processing speed, perceptual abilities, and inhibitory processes [23,30,[39][40][41][42][43][44]. Improved visual working memory has been linked to increased alpha rhythms [44]. ...
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Introduction: Binaural beats (BBs) are phantom sound illusions perceived when two sounds of slightly different frequencies are separately transmitted to the ears. It is suggested that some BB frequencies might entrain the brain and enhance certain cognitive functions such as working memory or attention. Nevertheless, studies in this regard are very scarce, quite controversial, and merely covering a very small portion of this vast field of research (e.g., testing only a few BB frequencies), not to mention adopting some limited methodologies (e.g., no assessment of the loudness of the BB sound, adopting only between-subject analyses, and testing only one perceptual modality). Hence, we aimed to assess the potential effects of alpha, beta, and gamma BBs on cognitive-behavioral parameters of working memory and attention examined simultaneously in two different modalities (visuospatial and auditory-verbal). Methods: This within-subject five-arm randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial included 155 trials in 31 healthy right-handed subjects (17 women, 14 men, 30.84 ± 6.16 years old). Each subject listened to 8-minute sessions of 10 Hz, 16 Hz, and 40 Hz binaural beats versus 240 Hz pure tone and silence (in random orders). In each 8-minute block, they played a dual 2-back task with feedback enabled. Their cognitive-behavioral parameters (working memory capacities, signal detection measures (hit rate, false alarm rate, sensitivity, and response bias), and reaction speed measures (response time and intrasubject response time variability)) were calculated. The effects of the sound interventions and short-term training on these working memory and attention measures were assessed statistically using mixed-model linear regressions, repeated-measures ANOVAs and ANCOVAs, Bonferroni post hoc tests, and one-sample t-tests (α = 0.05). Results: The following are some major statistically significant findings (P ≤ 0.05): In the visuospatial modality, the 10 Hz BB reduced the response time and intrasubject response time variability and reduced the extent of decline over time in the case of visuospatial working memory, sensitivity, and hit rate. In the auditory-verbal modality, the 10 Hz intervention reduced the hit rate, false alarm rate, and sensitivity. The 10 Hz intervention also caused the lowest intermodality discrepancies in hit rates and false alarm rates, the highest response time discrepancies, and negative discrepancies in working memories and sensitivities (indicating the superiority of the visuospatial modality). The response biases tended to be liberal-to-neutral in the verbal modality and rather conservative in the visuospatial modality. Reactions were faster in the visuospatial modality than the auditory-verbal one, while the intrasubject variability of reaction times was smaller in the auditory-verbal modality. Short-term training can increase the hit rate, working memory, and sensitivity and can decrease the false alarm rate and response time. Aging and reduced sound intervention volume may slow down responses and increase the intrasubject variability of response time. Faster reactions might be correlated with greater hit rates, working memories, and sensitivities and also with lower false alarm rates. Conclusions: The 8-minute alpha-band binaural beat entrainment may have a few, slight enhancing effects within the visuospatial modality, but not in both modalities combined. Short-term training can improve working memory and some cognitive parameters of attention. Some BB interventions can affect the intermodality discrepancies. There may be differences between the two modalities in terms of the response speeds and intrasubject response time variabilities. Aging can slow down the response, while increasing the volume of audio interventions may accelerate it.
... On the other hand, while several studies employed BB stimulation for improvement of cognitive functions such as memory and attention, the related modulation of cortical networks was not investigated (Kennerly 1994;Kraus and Porubanová 2015). Reporting changes in neurological measures such as EEG power spectrum and effective connectivity among cortical regions responsible for processing memory functions alongside the changes in cognitive measures is necessary to understand the mechanism of BB stimulation. ...
... There was no improvement of cognitive task in Group B despite an increase in theta and gamma power POBB at few electrodes, which is in line with some previous studies (Goodin et al. 2012;Vernon et al. 2014) but contradict others (Beauchene et al. 2016;Kennerly 1994;Kraus and Porubanová 2015). This suggests that the benefits may be frequency specific. ...
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Binaural beat (BB) is a promising technique for memory improvement in elderly or people with neurological conditions. However, the related modulation of cortical networks followed by behavioral changes has not been investigated. The objective of this study is to establish a relationship between BB oscillatory brain activity evoked by stimulation and a behavioral response in a short term memory task. Three Groups A, B, and C of 20 participants each received alpha (10 Hz), beta (14 Hz), and gamma (30 Hz) BB, respectively, for 15 min. Their EEG was recorded in pre, during, and post BB states. Participants performed a digit span test before and after a BB session. A significant increase in the cognitive score was found only for Group A while a significant decrease in reaction time was noted for Groups A and C. Group A had a significant decrease of theta and increase of alpha power, and a significant increase of theta and decrease of gamma imaginary coherence (ICH) post BB. Group C had a significant increase in theta and gamma power accompanied by the increase of theta and gamma ICH post BB. The effectiveness of BB depends on the frequency of stimulation. A putative neural mechanism involves an increase in theta ICH in parieto-frontal and interhemispheric frontal networks.
... The EEG reading, an index of neuromodulator balance in memory and illness [13], can be classified into frequency bands such as Delta, Theta, Alpha, Beta, and Gamma. The role of alpha has been implicated in cognition [14], vigilance [15], attention [16], memory [17], stress reduction [18], emotion [2,3], managing depression [19], sleep disorders [20], and decreasing anxiety [21]. Alpha brain waves are suggested to be the sensitive marker of serotonergic actions [13,22,23]. ...
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... Meanwhile, BBs at beta band of 15 Hz strengthened cortical networks while performing working memory tasks [46]. Entrainment of beta oscillations is of specific interest because of the role of beta oscillations in vigilance enhancement [44], visuospatial [43], working memory [58], anxiety and pain [55]. Previous study found that listening to beta oscillation at 15 Hz BBs during a visuospatial working memory task not only increased the response accuracy, but also modified the strengths of the cortical networks during the task [43]. ...
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In this study, we investigate the effectiveness of binaural beats stimulation (BBs) in enhancing cognitive vigilance and mitigating mental stress level at the workplace. We developed an experimental protocol under four cognitive conditions: high vigilance (HV), vigilance enhancement (VE), mental stress (MS) and stress mitigation (SM). The VE and SM conditions were achieved by listening to 16 Hz of BBs. We assessed the four cognitive conditions using salivary alpha-amylase, behavioral responses, and Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS). We quantified the vigilance and stress levels using the reaction time (RT) to stimuli, accuracy of detection, and the functional connectivity metrics of the fNIRS estimated by Phase Locking Values (PLV). We propose using the orthogonal minimum spanning tree (OMST) to determine the true connectivity network patterns of the PLV. Our results show that listening to 16-Hz BBs has significantly reduced the level of alpha amylase by 44%, reduced the RT to stimuli by 20% and increased the accuracy of target detection by 25%, (p < 0.001). The analysis of the connectivity network across the four different cognitive conditions revealed several statistically significant trends. Specifically, a significant increase in connectivity between the right and left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) areas and left orbitofrontal cortex was found during the vigilance enhancement condition compared to the high vigilance. Likewise, similar patterns were found between the right and left DLPFC, orbitofrontal cortex, right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) and right frontopolar PFC (prefrontal cortex) area during stress mitigation compared to mental stress. Furthermore, the connectivity network under stress condition alone showed significant connectivity increase between the VLPFC and DLPFC compared to other areas. The laterality index demonstrated left frontal laterality under high vigilance and VE conditions, and right DLPFC and left frontopolar PFC while under mental stress. Overall, our results showed that BBs can be used for vigilance enhancement and stress mitigation.
... Beneficial effects of subliminal music were studied using binaural beats in inducing certain propitious effects on the body and mind [20]. A recent study concluded that binaural beat frequencies corresponding to alpha brainwaves have a positive effect on the capacity of temporary working memory [21]. ...
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Music is known to affect different states of the human mind, for example, in calming one's mind and leading it to a blissful state. In this study, we examine the effect of music on the states of human mind. Changes in the alpha and beta brainwaves patterns are examined. These changes are compared for 'attention' and 'meditation' state of mind. An electroencephalograph device is used to record the brainwaves. Three experiments are carried out, in a controlled environment. First, we examine the effect of binaural beats, i.e., perceptual beat-frequency created in the human mind by the differential of two audio beats played to human ears. Second, we examine the effects of 8 different music genres on the states of human mind. Lastly, the effects of classical music of 5 different eminent musicians are examined. Parameters mean, standard deviation and normalized standard deviation are derived for the features extracted from the signal. A comparative analysis of attention vs. meditation state is carried out. Results indicate that the effect of classical music for meditation state of mind is larger, than for attention state. The study reveals that classical music indeed helps in achieving relaxed or meditative state of human mind.
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Mindfulness meditation, with the resulting alpha brain state, is gaining a strong following as an adjunct to health, so too is applying self-affirmation to stimulate behavior change through subconscious re-programming. Until recently the EEG technology needed to demonstrate this has been cumbersome and required specialist training. This paper reports a pilot study using a remote EEG headband, which through a sophisticated algorithm, provides a real-time EEG readout unencumbered by conventional artifacts. In a convenience sample of 13, the difference in brain waves was examined while the subjects were occupied in an 'attention' and an 'alpha mind state' exercise. There was a significant difference in the mean scores for theta, delta, beta and gamma brain waves. Alpha brain waves remained static suggesting an ability of the headset to discriminate a mindful state and to provide real-time, easy to interpret feedback for the facilitator and subject. The findings provide encouragement for research applications in health care activities providing neurobiofeedback to subjects involved in mindfulness behavior change activities.
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Research demonstrates that individuals can learn to voluntarily alter and control the frequency of their brain wave activity resulting in a normalization of brainwave patterns and improved functioning. A problem is the length and intensity of training time required to bring about these changes. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if regular and sustained auditory and visual stimulation would bring about neurodevelopmental growth as reflected in increasedI Q scores, achievement test scores, and self-control in learning disabled boys. Results suggest significant improvement following this training and that longer training time results in greater improvement. An innovative and inexpensive procedure that may improve student's school performance and behavior is the focus of this pilot study. Previous studies have shown that auditory or visual stimulation has a powerful effect on the frequency activity of the brain. It has been shown that rhythmic sound waves entering the ears results in a phenomenon called "entrainment" whereby brain waves match and resonate at the same frequency as the stimulating audio frequency. In auditory entrainment, the hemispheres of the brain produce symmetrical brain waves highly similar in frequency, amplitude, phase, and coherence. Entrainment to visual rather than to auditory stimulation occurs when rhythmic lights flashed into a subject's eyes cause the brain wave pattern of the entire cortex to fall into the same frequency as the flickering light. Electroencephalograph (EEG) studies have demonstrated that significant targeted behavioral changes occur as a result of the challenge and stimulation of intensive EEG training. Other studies suggest that individuals with epilepsy have reduced seizure activity by learning to regulate their brain wave activity (Sterman & Friar, 1972, Lubar, 198 1). Cunningham (198 1) reported increased math and reading scores as well as increased self-control in children following EEG biofeedback training; and Lubar (1985) demonstrated significantly improved academic performance in learning disabled students. Both Carter and Russell (1981, 1992) and Tansey (1984, 1990) investigated the effects of EEG biofeedback training with learning disabled boys and found that the children made significant gains on their IQ scores. In a related series of investigations, Diamond (1988) has shown that environmental stimulation in rats increased dendritic growth which resulted in improved performance on tasks such as maze learning and memory. Although there is considerable evidence that visual and auditory entrainment is a replicable physical phenomenon, there have been no quantitative studies on the possible effects on behavior and brain functioning of sustained visual and auditory entrainment. The present study focused on the effects of synchronized visual and auditory stimulation on the academic and behavioral functioning of learning disabled boys. Following auditory and visual stimulation entrainment training, it was hypothesized that elementary-aged learning disabled boys would show improvement in these areas: Verbal and nonverbal IQ; reading, spelling, and arithmetic; and self-control behavior as rated by teachers and parents.
Article
The relationship between working memory (WM) capacity and three executive function tests, which were adopted from clinical neuropsychology, was studied. The subjects were normal 15-16-year-old students. A large set of WM measures included digit and word span, a modified memory-updating task, and five different complex WM span tasks. The complex span measures and the memory-updating task showed high intercorrelations. Of the three executive function tests, the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) correlated significantly with WM tasks, the storage function of WM probably being a limiting factor in card sorting. The global performance measures of the WCST were more dependent on WM capacity than the number of perseverations. The two other executive function tests-the Tower of Hanoi and Goal Search Task-did not correlate with WM tasks. None of the executive function tests exhibited any significant intercorrelations. The results are in agreement with earlier studies, which have found separate executive functions. The present results and evidence from earlier studies suggest that there does not exist a unitary, limited-capacity central executive.