General, Research, Technology

New technology allows you to control brain waves

Diagnostic electrical vibrations of the headbrain are called rhythms. Recently, researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology managed to teach subjects to manipulate their own alpha waves, thereby increasing attention when performing a specific task. Alpha waves describe the electrical activity of the brain at a frequency of 8-12 Hz. The results of a study published in the journal Neuron in the future will provide an opportunity for people who have learning problems to get feedback on their brain activity.

Despite the scientific advances of recent decades, the human brain is still poorly understood.

How are attention and alpha waves related?

Today, worldwide interest inthe use of neurobiological control - a technology that is widely used in sports and medicine. These technologies have previously shown their effectiveness in the treatment of cognitive impairment. As Robert Desimon, director of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said in an official statement, this is a completely non-invasive way to control and verify the role of various types of brain activity.

During the study, a team of scientists discoveredthat, suppressing alpha waves in one half of the parietal cortex - the fraction responsible for touch, ability to navigate in space, as well as attention - the subjects paid more attention to objects on the screen. It should be noted that the relationship between attention and alpha waves has been established in previous studies. Moreover, according to the authors of the scientific work, it still remains unclear whether this connection is a by-product of another process, or whether alpha waves directly control attention.

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In one experiment, subjects were offeredtake advantage of the neurobiological control that described their alpha waves. They had to look at the lattice pattern in the center of the monitor, and make mental efforts to increase the contrast of the pattern, making it more noticeable. The contrast became more noticeable when the asymmetry of alpha waves in both the left and right hemispheres of the parietal cortex increased based on data obtained by monitoring brain activity. In other words, alpha waves were suppressed in one hemisphere of the parietal cortex, but amplified in another.

There are 8 types of brain rhythms

Researchers note that one groupsubjects were able to suppress alpha waves in the left hemisphere, and the other in the right. Moreover, both groups showed opposite results: increased reaction or attention to flashes of light in the right and left parts of the screen, respectively. Surprisingly, after ten minutes of exercise, subjects learned to increase contrast, potentially increasing control over their attention. After the experiment, the subjects informed the researchers that they knew that they controlled the contrast, but did not know how.

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Scientists have concluded that manipulationalpha waves really controlled the subjects' attention. However, several significant questions remain, including how exactly the control of brain waves occurs, and how long they can be controlled. Moreover, researchers cannot yet say whether this technique can be applied in real life when teaching people with behavioral problems, or problems with concentration. It also remains unclear whether this method is applicable to other types of brain waves, such as beta waves, which are associated with Parkinson's disease. At the same time, the experiment seems to demonstrate that we have an amazing degree of subconscious control over the mechanics of our own brain.