Science, Visual

Brain Wave Synchronisation

There are several devices and approaches on the market for tackling Learning Difficulties such as ADD / ADHD that aim to effect the patterns of electrical activity in the brain. This goes back to the discovery of EEG in the 1930’s. It was noticed that when people are relaxed they have a regular, more synchronised brain wave patterns where as agitated people tend to have more chaotic patterns. Since then, various bio or neuro-feedback devices have been marketed on the assumption that calmer, more synchronised brain wave patterns are better.
In a new experiment using monkeys researchers looked at how attention and reaction times were effected by gamma-band synchronisation in the visual areas of the brain.
Our capacity to process and respond behaviourally to multiple incoming stimuli is very limited. To optimize the use of this limited capacity, attentional mechanisms give priority to behaviourally relevant stimuli at the expense of irrelevant distractors. In visual areas, attended stimuli induce enhanced responses and an improved synchronization of rhythmic neuronal activity in the gamma frequency band (40–70 Hz). Both effects probably improve the neuronal signaling of attended stimuli within and among brain areas. Attention also results in improved behavioral performance and shortened reaction times. However, it is not known how reaction times are related to either response strength or gamma-band synchronization in visual areas. Here we show that behavioural response times to a stimulus change can be predicted specifically by the degree of gamma-band synchronization among those neurons in monkey visual area V4 that are activated by the behaviourally relevant stimulus“.
What this study demonstrates is that attention and reaction times are effected by synchronisation, in monkeys anyway. It does not demonstrate that products such as light therapy or neuro-feedback work but it does support their arguments.
Previously on Myomancy: History of Audio Visual Entrainment, SharperBrain Claims a Breakthrough in ADHD Treatment, Play Attention: Biofeedback Treatment for ADHD
See Also: Gamma Synchrony on Developing Intelligence.