Thursday, December 1, 2011

3-8 Hertz

I recently came across a paper I wrote in college discussing the neuroscience behind shamanistic practices.  One interesting thing I found when reviewing this paper is that in order to enter a trance to the spirit world, shamans would often employ rhythmic drumming, chanting, and/or dancing.  When this phenomenon was studied it became apparent that this drumming impacts the frequency of brain waves.  More specifically, Vaitl, et. al, discussed past research done by Neher, demonstrating that drum beats in the frequency of 3-8 hertz synchronize brain waves to the same frequency (also konwn as auditory driving).  There has been further research into auditory driving, indicating that different frequencies produce synchronizing effects on brain waves in various scenarios.  Curious of this phenomenon, and wondering what if meant to have brain waves synchronized, I tried to find a sampling of a 3-8 Hz drum beat.  I was unsuccessful at finding a pure sample, but I did discover binaural beats.  When listening to this with headphones for only a short while, I definitely noticed a change in cognition.  Not sure what the effect would be, I cut my listening session short, and considered myself informed. 

This is a very interesting phenomenon, and I wonder what the implications are, knowing that our brain waves can be changed into a specific patern by rhythmic beats.  How is this phenomenon used in the daily world?  What is the evolutionary advantage?  Is this embedded into advertising and marketing?  If so, what impact or consequences result?  It would appear to be a form of hypnosis, causing one to enter a relaxed state, though I do not know if it changes a person's suggestability.  Where in your daily life do you notice rhythmic beats, and at what hertz?  Please leave a comment.

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