The Cerebral Cortex

The brain is the source of life. Many people have been using light and sound for thousands of years to change the state of consciousness.

The cerebral cortex is composed of neurons that are interconnected to each other (The Measurement of Brain Waves). They receive input from other areas of the brain and the body. Electrical activity is in the form of nerve impulses (action potentials) being sent and received to and from cortical neurons, which are always present, even during sleep. Any absence of cortical activity signifies death.

We measure activity of neurons and the information sent to it by cortical structures and receptors by a machine called an electroencephalogram or EEG. The electrodes receive the activity from thousands of neurons (100,000 neurons/sq ml).

The steps we used in our experiment for recording was:

Step 1: Calibrate machine. Relax.
Step 2: Keep your eyes closed and continue to relax, while listening to soft music for 2, 10-second rotations.
Step 3: Open your eyes and while listening to music WITHOUT BLINKING for 2, 10-second rotations.
Step 4: Repeat all steps with up beat music.

It is only when the input is synchronized with electrical activity that you begin to see a simple periodic waveforms on the EEG. The lower the number of Hz, the slower the brain activity. Some frequencies are in greater quantities and strength than others. In our experiment we concentrated on the Alpha and Beta (as a unit) waves.

Delta 0.1 - 3 Hz Sleep, lucid dreaming, increased immune functions, hypnosis,
Theta 3 - 8 Hz Deep relaxation, meditation, increased memory, focus, creativity, lucid dreaming, hypnagogic state, frustrating events
Alpha 8 - 12 Hz Light relaxation, "super learning", positive thinking, greatest amplitude is recorded from the occipital and parietal regions, They diminish when eyes are open and are listening to outside triggers.
Low Beta 12 - 15 Hz Relaxed focus, improved attentive abilities, deep sleep
Midrange Beta 15 - 18 Hz Increase mental ability, focus, alertness, IQ, memories
High Beta above 18 Hz Fully awake, normal state of alertness, stress and anxiety
Gamma 40 Hz Associated with information-rich task processing and high-level information processing
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Music has been a source of relaxation for many people, but music also inspires many other feelings as well, such as energy, motivator, or promotes immunity (Drew, 2014). You will find people driving, doing housework, or even exercise/sports while listening to their favorite tunes. Many people believe that music encourages their thinking and actions. Music with a strong beat can stimulate brainwaves to resonate in sync with the beat, with faster beats bringing sharper concentration and more alert thinking (Beta), and a slower tempo promoting a calm (Alpha). Many historical people have said to use music as a way to get creative and learn, such as Einstein. Most people, choose a slow harmonic or classical tune to try and relax in order to fight tension and stress. Berger (Brainwave music, 2012) detected Alpha waves, which could be measured when one listens to music, in part of the brain called the ventral striatum, which releases dopamine (a pleasurable experience). 'Virtually all genres of music (besides classical) target the brain's right hemisphere and increase theta brainwave levels.'

Brainwave music has been proven to heal or lessen diseases such as learning disorders, adhd, depression, and many more. This has spurred on research but of no interest to pharmaceutical companies because no profit. A study was conducted to track patient's ratings of their own anxiety. Before undergoing a surgery, they were randomly assigned to listen to music or take anti anxiety pills. The Outcome: Patients who listened to music had less anxiety compared to those who took pills. Another study is on the way students can improve test scores by listening to certain types of music such as Mozart's Sonata for Two Piano's in D Major. This type of music releases neurons in the brain, which help the body to relax. The effectiveness of Mozart's sonatas can be seen by the results from an IQ test performed on three groups of college students. The first group listened to a Mozart sonata before taking the test. The second group listened to a relaxation tape before their test. The third group did not listen to anything before the test. The first group had the highest score with an average of 119. The second group ended up with an average of 111, and the third group had the lowest score with an average of 110. The information being studied activates the left-brain while the music activates the right brain. Also, activities which engage both sides of the brain at the same time, such as playing an instrument or singing, causes the brain to be more capable of processing information.

Yet another study, from William Balach, Kelly Bowman, and Lauri Mohler, all from Pennsylvania State University, studied the effects of music genre and tempo on memory retention. Four groups learn vocabulary words using one of four instrumental pieces - slow classical, slow jazz, fast classical, and fast jazz. On recall, the results did not same during learning and testing. In following studies, results showed changing the genre had no effect on recall but changing the tempo decreased recall. This is accepted by the belief that 'the human mind performs better when listening to ordered music'

With alterations in brainwaves come changes in other bodily functions. Those governed by the autonomic nervous system, such as breathing and heart rate. This is why music and music therapy are used for depression and keeping anxiety at bay. It also has been proven to help ease muscle tension and more (Scott, 2014).

Brainwave music - New ways to recreation and a better consciousness http://www.brainwave-music.com/
Drew.Theta Brain Waves ' A Guide To Understanding.http://4mind4life.com/blog/2008/04/04/theta-brain-waves/
O'Donnell, L. Music and the Brain.http://musica.ps.uci.edu/mrn/V4I1S97.html#threads
Scott, E. April 10, 2014.How and Why Is Music A Good Tool For Health?http://stress.about.com/od/tensiontamers/a/music_therapy.htm
The Measurement of Brain Waves http://www.psych.westminster.edu/psybio/BN/Labs/Brainwaves.htm

DanWu, Chaoyi Li, Yu Yin, Zhou, and Yao. (2010) Music Composition from the Brain Signal:Representing theMental State by Music Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience. Hindawi Publishing Corporation. China. Volume 2010, Article ID 267671, 6 pages
Doi: 10.1155/2010/267671

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