Brain waves

What are EEG frequencies (brain waves)?

In the exhibition we will interpret the different brain waves as indicators of your state of consciousness. You will be able to see and take home an artistic visual and auditory interpretation of the data.

Before we go into detail on the individual brain waves, here some information on brain waves in general:

The waves can vary in their speed and amplitude. The fastest (or highest frequency) waves, we will be measuring in the exhibition are beta waves, the slowest are delta waves.

Originally these waves were thought to be epiphenomena – they were not thought to possess any function themselves and thought to occur as a side-effect of neurons communicating. In recent years however, this view has been revised and it has become plain that the oscillating property of neurons has an important functional role.

Several rhythms or waves can occur simultaneously in the same or in different structures and interact with each other. Delta is thought to modulate theta amplitude, whereas theta is thought to modulate gamma amplitude (30+ Hz, even faster than beta).

If the oscillating properties are out of control and too many neurons fire in synchrony, this may in fact lead to an epileptic seizure.

These are the frequencies we will be measuring:

Beta (13-30 Hz)

Beta activity attribution: Hugo Gamboa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

The beta rhythm reflects normal waking consciousness, thinking and concentration. This rhythm can be seen throughout the brain but reflects local communication within brain regions.

Alpha (8-13 Hz)

By Hugo Gamboa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

The alpha wave, also called Berger’s wave in honour of its discoverer, remains the most extensively studied wave. In most people it appears, as soon as the eyes are closed, in the regions processing vision. The function of these alpha waves may be the inhibition of areas in the brain not in use.

Alpha waves are present in wakeful relaxation and some researchers have found it to be more visible in states of meditation.

Theta (4-7 Hz)

By Hugo Gamboa [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

High theta wave activation during meditation has been related to proficiency in the practice.

Functionally, theta waves have been linked to ‘synaptic plasticity’, a mechanism that restructures the links between neurons and can lead to memory formation.
Delta (<4 Hz)

By Hugo Gamboa (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons

These slow waves are seen during deep sleep and relaxation. These waves are thought to aid in consolidating memory traces that have been acquired during wakefulness.

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2 thoughts on “Brain waves

  1. Philip Seaman March 15, 2015 / 8:58 am

    Really enjoyed participating yesterday, I thought it was fascinating!

    Would love to have a copy my visual and auditory results if possible?

    Good luck. Philip

    Liked by 1 person

    • bjachs March 18, 2015 / 3:20 pm

      Thank you Philip! It is really encouraging to get your positive feedback! For now we are only able to send out still images of your MindArt. Have you received them? We are working on recording the visuals and audio and will update the website on any developments. Thank you so much for your support!

      Like

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