Have you heard?: Isochronic Tones and Binaural Beats.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNuoGeD9Qeo[/youtube]

If you simply search “Cognitive” in Youtube you might see a few videos talking about their cognition enhancing music. They call this music Isochronic tones. They also go by the name Binaural Beats. Supposedly, some of these 30 – 60 minute long clips can relieve you of insomnia, headaches, and even stimulate your neurons to release dopamine, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters. There is even one that is 8 hours long and claims that if you put it on before you go to sleep, it will help you enter a state of lucid dreaming (this clip in particular happens to have over 1 million views). These tones and beats are supposed to enact a process in ones brain called brainwave entrainment. The first source I came across was by a software developer stating that this process, “enables the use of audio or visual stimuli to affect the brain and help people with a variety of problems.” (See here).

At the bottom of the site it lists three quotes from some peer-reviewed journal articles to support the notion that brainwave entrainment is a good therapeutic solution to things such as headaches, stress, behavioral problems, and focus issues. Unfortunately, I could not find available copies of these three specific articles. This site also connected me here  to a list of studies done involving forms of brainwave entrainment.

Beats

A promising study titled “Alpha Brainwave Entrainment as a Cognitive Performance Activator,” from a 2013 volume of Cognition, Brain, Behavior: An Interdisciplinary Journal, found that, specifically, the use of binary beasts did produce a positive change in cognition when used in tandem with a strobe light in 30 minute intervals. It mentions that the Stroop effect, which we know refers to how it is easier for someone to name colors of words that match (ex. The word blue showing up in a blue color) than it is to name words with non-corresponding colors, had something to do with the final results.

It appears that these techniques are relatively new to the this-is-how-to-make-your-brain-better community. Personally, I can say that I listened to the above clip while I wrote this article and I don’t feel very different. Maybe a little sleepy. Take a listen and see what you think.

1 thought on “Have you heard?: Isochronic Tones and Binaural Beats.

  1. kharner

    I am glad you wrote about this. The other day I was searching for meditative videos to help with falling asleep and I came across the one similar to what you posted. I’ve been told multiple times to listen to these sorts of things in order to help with insomnia, but I’m always super skeptical and kind of cynical. However, I never really looked in to see if there was actual research done on the topic. Personally, the video didn’t really help me, but it is interesting to see studies on this.

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