Diagnosed brain electrical oscillations of the brain are called rhythms. Recently researchers from mit have managed to teach the subjects to manipulate their own alpha-waves, thereby increasing attention to the performance of a specific task. Alpha waves describe the electrical activity of the brain at a frequency of 8-12 Hz. The results of the study, which was published in the journal Neuron, in the future will give the opportunity to people who are experiencing problems with learning to receive feedback of their brain activity.
How are attention and alpha waves?
Today in the world there is a growing interest in the use of nanobiodevice technology, which is widely used in sports and medicine. The technology has previously shown its effectiveness in the treatment of cognitive disorders. As reported in the official statement, Robert Desimone, Director of McGovern Institute for brain research at the Massachusetts Institute of technology, is a completely non-invasive method of control and verification of the role of different types of brain activity.
In the study, a team of scientists has found that suppressing the alpha waves in one half of the parietal cortex lobe, responsible for sense of touch, the ability to navigate in space, and the attention subjects pay more attention to the objects on the screen. It should be noted that the relationship between attention and the alpha waves were established in previous studies. However, as the authors of scientific work, until now it remained unclear whether this connection is a by-product of another process, or alpha waves directly control the attention.
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In one experiment, subjects were asked to use neuromyopathies, which described their alpha waves. They had to look at the grid pattern in the center of the monitor and to exert mental effort, to increase the contrast of the picture, making it more noticeable. The contrast became more pronounced when the asymmetry of alpha waves on the left and right hemisphere of the parietal cortex increased on the basis of data obtained by monitoring brain activity. In other words, alpha waves were suppressed in one hemisphere of the parietal cortex, but increased in the other.
The researchers note that one group of subjects failed to suppress the alpha waves in the left hemisphere and the other in the right. Moreover, both groups showed opposite results: an enhanced response or attention to flashes of light in right and left side of the screen, respectively. Surprisingly, after ten minutes of exercise, subjects learned to increase the contrast, potentially increasing control over their attention. After the experiment, the subjects told the researchers that were aware of the fact that control contrast, but didn’t know how.
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Scientists came to the conclusion that the manipulation of alpha waves really controlled the attention of the subjects. Nevertheless, there remains several important issues, including how it takes control of the brain waves as well as how long they can manage. Moreover, researchers cannot yet say whether this technique can be applied in real life in teaching people with behavioral problems, or problems with concentration. Also it 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 be demonstrating that we have an amazing degree of subconscious control over the mechanics of our own brain.