Research and Science

The Impact of Binaural Beats on Creativity

Results showed that binaural beats, regardless of the presented frequency, can affect divergent but not convergent thinking. Individuals with low EBRs mostly benefitted from alpha binaural beat stimulation, while individuals with high EBR were unaffected or even impaired by both alpha and gamma binaural beats. This suggests that binaural beats, and possibly other forms of cognitive entrainment, are not suited for a one-size-fits-all approach, and that individual cognitive-control systems need to be taken into account when studying cognitive enhancement methods.

Susan A. Reedijk
Anne eBolders 
Bernhard eHommel
Institute for Psychological Research and Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition, Leiden University, Leiden, Netherlands)


Efficiency of Brainwave Entrainment by Binaural Beats in Reducing Anxiety

At the end, both groups completed the anxiety questionnaire and the anxiety scores of both groups obtained before and after intervention were analyzed by ANCOVA. Results: The findings showed that the brainwave entrainment using binaural beats led to the significant reduction of state anxiety (P<0.001) and trait anxiety (P<0.018). Conclusion: Brainwave entrainment using binaural beats is an effective factor in decreasing state and trait anxiety; so, it can be used to reduce anxiety in mental health centers.

Ahmad Alipoor
Mohammad Oraki
Mehdi Yazdian Sabet
(Dept. of Psychology, Faculty of Literature and Humanities, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran.) 

High-Frequency Binaural Beats Increase Cognitive Flexibility: Evidence from Dual-Task Crosstalk

We investigated whether high-frequency binaural beats, an auditory illusion suspected to act as a cognitive enhancer, have an impact on cognitive-control configuration. We hypothesized that binaural beats in the gamma range bias the cognitive-control style towards flexibility, which in turn should increase the crosstalk between tasks in a dual-task paradigm. We replicated earlier findings that the reaction time in the first-performed task is sensitive to the compatibility between the responses in the first and the second task—an indication of crosstalk. As predicted, exposing participants to binaural beats in the gamma range increased this effect as compared to a control condition in which participants were exposed to a continuous tone of 340 Hz. These findings provide converging evidence that the cognitive-control style can be systematically biased by inducing particular internal states; that high-frequency binaural beats bias the control style towards more flexibility; and that different styles are implemented by changing the strength of local competition and top-down bias.

Leiden University:
Bernhard Hommel 
Roberta Sellaro 
Saskia Borg
Lorenza S Colzato
University of Greifswald:
Rico Fischer

    The Effect of Binaural Beats on Visuospatial Working Memory and Cortical Connectivity

    Binaural beats utilize a phenomenon that occurs within the cortex when two different frequencies are presented separately to each ear. This procedure produces a third phantom binaural beat, whose frequency is equal to the difference of the two presented tones and which can be manipulated for non-invasive brain stimulation. The effects of binaural beats on working memory, the system in control of temporary retention and online organization of thoughts for successful goal directed behavior, have not been well studied. Furthermore, no studies have evaluated the effects of binaural beats on brain connectivity during working memory tasks. In this study, we determined the effects of different acoustic stimulation conditions on participant response accuracy and cortical network topology, as measured by EEG recordings, during a visuospatial working memory task. Three acoustic stimulation control conditions and three binaural beat stimulation conditions were used: None, Pure Tone, Classical Music, 5Hz binaural beats, 10Hz binaural beats, and 15Hz binaural beats. We found that listening to 15Hz binaural beats during a visuospatial working memory task not only increased the response accuracy, but also modified the strengths of the cortical networks during the task. The three auditory control conditions and the 5Hz and 10Hz binaural beats all decreased accuracy. Based on graphical network analyses, the cortical activity during 15Hz binaural beats produced networks characteristic of high information transfer with consistent connection strengths throughout the visuospatial working memory task.

    Christine Beauchene
    Nicole Abaid
    Rosalyn Moran
    Rachel A. Diana
    Alexander Leonessa


      Physiological Effects of Binaural Beats and Meditative Musical Stimulation

      The current study examined physiological effects of meditation music and binaural beats on humans, solo and in combination. A binaural beat is the presence of two separate auditory tones with equal amplitude and slightly differing frequencies (Goodin et al., 2012). Meditation music is often used with binaural beats to calm individuals (Chan et al., 2008). There is reason to believe binaural beats and meditative music impact human vital signs (Wahbeh et al., 2012). Heart rate, blood pressure, and oxygen saturation were recorded from 60 participants, tested individually, and randomly assigned to one of three listening groups: Beat + Music, Music Only, or Beat Only. Participants experienced their assigned auditory stimulation through headphones for 6 min. Physiological responses were recorded before and during auditory stimulation. A one- way ANOVA showed a significant difference in mean heart rate between listening groups (p = .046). Due to sample size limitations, a subsequent Tukey test (Abdi & Williams, 2010) could not identify the location of the significant difference. The largest difference in averages (at 9.05 bpm) existed between Beat Only and Music Only groups, therefore, indicating this as the location of the significant difference. No significant difference was found between listening groups in blood pressure (systolic: p = .937; diastolic: p = .954) or oxygen saturation (p = .752). It is recommended future studies in this domain incorporate larger sample sizes to ensure statistical sensitivity.

      Elizabeth M. Hill
      Christina M. Frederick
      Sierra Nevada College


      Music, Science, and the Rhythmic Brain: Cultural and Clinical Implications

      This book studies the effects of repetitive musical rhythm on the brain and nervous system, and in doing so integrates diverse fields including ethnomusicology, psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, religious studies, music therapy, and human health. It presents aspects of musical rhythm and biological rhythms, and in particular rhythmic entrainment, in a way that considers cultural context alongside theoretical research and discussions of potential clinical and therapeutic implications. Considering the effects of drumming and other rhythmic music on mental and bodily functioning, the volume hypothesizes that rhythmic music can have a dramatic impact on mental states, sometimes catalyzing profound changes in arousal, mood, and emotional states via the stimulation of changes in physiological functions like the electrical activity in the brain. The experiments presented here make use of electroencephalography (EEG), galvanic skin response (GSR), and subjective measures to gain insight into how these mental states are evoked, what their relationship is to the music and context of the experience, and demonstrate that they are happening in a consistent and reproducible fashion, suggesting clinical applications. This comprehensive volume will appeal to scholars in cognition, ethnomusicology, and music perception who are interested in the therapeutic potential of music.

      Jonathan Berger
      Gabe Turow​​​​​​​



      Binaural Beats and the Regulation of Arousal Levels

      This paper describes two studies. A first study measured the neural accommodation (changes in ongoing or overall brain-wave activity) associated with complex binaural-beat stimuli. A second study, based on the same protocol, measured changes in ongoing brain-wave activity associated with placebo stimuli.

      A weak EEG frequency-following response to binaural beating and other rhythmic stimuli manifests using time-domain averaging brainwave analysis techniques. Theoretically, this frequency-following response emerges as a low-amplitude linked series of evoked-potential responses. It is important to note that these studies examined ongoing brainwave activity (in this case, central delta and occipital alpha) and not the frequency-following response.

      Results of the two studies showed that during the binaural-beat stimuli, reductions in the percentages of occipital alpha (bipolar O1–O2) were significant (individually, p < .05, and together, p < .001) during five of six free-running EEG recording periods compared to baselines. During these same recording periods, reductions in the percentages of central delta (bipolar C3–C4) were similarly significant during four of six periods compared to baselines. Alpha- and delta-brainwave changes were nonsignificant during the placebo stimuli.

      F. Holmes Atwater, BA