Alpha Brainwaves & Televsion


Note: the effects of TV on Alpha Brainwaves has been extensively studied, but almost no studies have been done on the effects of TV on Gamma Brainwaves. Why would that be?



"Attention and Brain Activity While Watching Television: Components of Viewer Engagement... Television commercials include elements designed to engage the viewer's attention. Manipulations of the commercial's visual structure that result in rapid pacing or frequent scene changes can be engaging because they require a frequent redirection of visual attention. Manipulations of semantic content through such techniques as the inclusion of humorous or anomalous elements can elicit cognitive engagement. Structural manipulations in videos are known to attenuate the alpha (8 to 13 Hz) rhythm of the electroencephalogram (EEG) recorded over posterior cortical regions involved with visual processes. To examine whether other engaging elements also affect the alpha rhythm, EEG was recorded from 10 participants who viewed television commercials"  -  Media Psychology (Aug 2004)


"Voluntary Versus Involuntary Alpha Blocking" ... "Abstract: Subjects watched television while EEG was being recorded and later completed a series of recognition tests based on component parts of the commercials they had seen. Memory correlated significantly with changes in the electrical patterns that occurred during viewing. The probability of correct recognition was enhanced when alpha blocking continued for a longer period of time and when hemispheric laterality shifted to the right during the onset of a commercial component and then to the left during the following seconds."  -  The Journal of Consumer Research (1990)


"Attention to Television: Intrastimulus Effects of Movement and Scene Changes on Alpha Variation Over Time"  -  International Journal of Neuroscience (1985)


"As a validity check on the attentional interpretation of alpha, it was shown that mean alpha for each commercial was significantly (negatively) correlated with recall and recognition of commercial contents. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for further use of continuously-recorded alpha in research on factors that influence attention to television."  -  Pubmed (Aug 1985)


"Hemispherically Lateralized EEG as a Response to Television Commercials" - The Journal of Consumer Research (Sept 1988)











EEG Monitoring


It seems that there are no technical reasons why viewer's brainwaves couldn't relatively easily be measure while watching TV and while engaged in other activities:


"The "gold standard" in the diagnosis of nonepileptic seizures (NESs) is a recording of a typical event during video-EEG monitoring. This procedure is available at all centers specializing in epilepsy and is increasingly available at general hospitals and even in some neurologic group practices. During this procedure, the EEG is recorded for a prolonged period, accompanied by continuous closed-circuit video observation. The digitized EEG and recorded behavior are displayed simultaneously, allowing point-to-point correlations of recorded events and any accompanying electrographic changes."  -  Epilepsy Professionals (Feb 2004)












EEG Amplitude & TV


"Response reliability is complementary to more conventional measurements of response amplitudes, and can reveal phenomena that response amplitudes do not. Here we review studies that measured reliability of cortical activity within or between human subjects in response to naturalistic stimulation (e.g. free viewing of movies). Despite the seemingly uncontrolled nature of the task, some of these complex stimuli evoke highly reliable, selective and time-locked activity in many brain areas, including some regions that show little response modulation in most conventional experimental protocols." - PubMed (Jan 2010)  and  PubFacts (Jan 2010) 


"The results indicated that, although EEG amplitude was significantly reduced during TV viewing, there were no consistent changes in evoked response or recovery function measurements." - Journal of Nervous & Mental Disease (Jan 1971)












EEG Diagnosis


"The first brain wave test to diagnose attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will be hitting the market following recent approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). FDA is permitting marketing of the first ever such medical device that, when used on children aged 6 to 17 years as part of a complete medical and psychological examination, can help confirm a diagnosis of ADHD. The device is called the Neuropsychiatric EEG-Based Assessment Aid (NEBA) System. Based on electroencephalogram (EEG) technology, the 15- to 20-minute noninvasive test calculates the ratio of theta and beta brain waves. Experts have shown the theta/beta ratio to be higher in children and adolescents with ADHD than in children without it."Contemporary Pediatrics (July 2013)  and  Psychology Today (July 2013)  and  Medscape (July 2013)  see also Inside UVA Online (March 2000)


"It was noted that the P3 amplitude was significantly lower in alcoholics – even recovering alcoholics who had been sober for up to 10 years. This lowered P3 amplitude has also been discovered in non-alcoholic relatives of alcoholics – including their children. This suggests that this brainwave pattern is inherited and that it may therefore be possible to predict who is or is not at risk of developing addiction."  -  Sovcal (May 2011)


"And they've found at least one promising marker, he says. It involves very high frequency brain waves known as gamma oscillations. Bosl and Nelson have been studying those oscillations in 79 children from the time they were 6 months old. Some of the children are at high risk for developing autism because they have an older sibling with the disorder. The rest have no special risk factors. "What we've observed is that starting as young as 6 months, maybe even younger, infants who have a high risk for developing autism show dramatic reductions in gamma activity," Nelson says." - NPR (June 2011)


"New Computer-Based Method to Detect Epileptic Seizures" - Science Daily (March 2011)


"Check this video out, Neuroscientist Aditi Shankardass is doing amazing things with EEG technology, especially when it comes to redefining the way we approach diagnosing developmental disorders in children. She argues (compellingly) that looking at a child's brain, not just their behavior, is the key to discovering the truth about ADD and many other challenges" - Psychology Today Blog (Jan 2011)












EEG and Learning


"The Moser experiment is premised on the fact that there are two distinct reactions to mistakes, both of which can be reliably detected using electroenchephalography, or EEG. The first reaction is called error-related negativity (ERN). It appears about 50 milliseconds after a screw-up and is believed to originate in the anterior cingulate cortex, a chunk of tissue that helps monitor behavior, anticipate rewards and regulate attention. This neural reaction is mostly involuntary, the inevitable response to any screw-up." - Wired (Oct 2011)












EEG and Autism


 "They continued with an additional premise and a question: If our first study showed that EEG data can distinguish people on the autism spectrum from the NT population, could further EEG analysis separate people with Asperger’s from the general autism population?" - Psychology Today (August 2013)


 "People with autism show weaker PAC — that is, less synchrony between alpha and gamma waves — when looking at faces than controls do, the study found. They also have weaker long-range connections between the FFA and other areas of the cortex than controls do." - SFARI (Feb 2013)


"In general, in the children with autism, EEG signals at short distances from each other tended to have reduced coherence. Long-distance coherence, compared with neurotypical children, was sometimes reduced and sometimes increased." - Vector (July 2012)












EEG and the Default Mode


"EEG default mode network in the human brain: spectral regional field powers." - PubMed (Jan 2008)


And about the Default Mode - Psychology Today (July 2012)


"The default network and the dorsal attention network are two other brain networks that have been identified. These two networks have very different roles. The default network is active when we are daydreaming, i.e., when we are not thinking about anything in particular. In reality, when we daydream, we are actually exploring a variety of thoughts, memories, and ideas. Thus, the default network is involved in broad-based introspective thinking. In contrast, the dorsal attention network helps us focus on performing specific tasks that require concentration and attention. This system is driven by external (outside the body) cues as opposed to the default network, which responds largely to internal cues. When one of these two systems is active, the other is much less active."  - Psychology Today (March 2014)












EEG and Neglect


 "Staying in an orphanage instead of foster care also resulted in lower-quality brain activity as measured by EEG, Fox said. Teachers indicated these same kids were also worse off socially." - Live Science (July 2012)


  "Based on the literature relating specific patterns of EEG frequency distribution to cognitive deficits, behavioral problems, environmental risk factors, and developmental delays, we predicted that we would find a higher proportion of EEG power at lower frequencies and a corresponding reduction in EEG power at higher frequencies in the institutionalized group, compared with the never-institutionalized group." -  University of Maryland (2004)












EEG and the Assorted


"In a March 2013 study titled “How the Brain Loses and Regains Consciousness” researchers from MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) tracked brain activity in human volunteers over a two-hour period as they lost and regained consciousness. The researchers identified distinctive brain patterns associated with different stages of general anesthesia." - Psychology Today (Oct 2013)


"In the Edinburgh study, “The Urban Brain: Analyzing Outdoor Physical Activity With Mobile EEG,” which was published in March, the team used a wireless EEG headset made by the Australian electronics company Emotiv. It is essentially a commercial device, rather than a piece of medical equipment, which entails some caveats that might not sit well with neuroscientists. The researchers had to put faith in Emotiv’s algorithm that “translates” raw electric brain data from 14 sensors into user-friendly metrics of frustration, engagement, excitement and meditation." - Salon (Sept 2013)


"Or rather, his brain's performance is near perfect. The man has a machine strapped to his head, an array of electrodes called an electroencephalogram, or EEG, which is recording his brain activity as each image skips by. It then sends the brain-activity data wirelessly to a large computer. The computer has learned what the man's brain activity looks like when he sees one of the visual targets, and, based on that information, it quickly reshuffles the images." - The Chronicle Review (July 2012)


"Poor Children's Brain Activity Resembles That Of Stroke Victims, EEG Shows" - Science Daily (Dec 2008)


"The Nielsen Co. is to announce today a strategic investment in and alliance with NeuroFocus, which specializes in the practice of measuring brain waves to determine consumers’ responses to marketing messages." - Commercial Alert (Feb 2008)


"Although the bulk of his work involves deriving equations, Cowan’s findings mesh well with laboratory data generated on the cerebral cortex and electroencephalograms. His latest findings show that the same mathematical tools physicists use to describe the behavior of subatomic particles and the dynamics of liquids and solids can now be applied to understanding how the brain generates its various rhythms." - The University of Chicago (Feb 2008)


""One theory about how the brain is organized says that there is a hierarchy of oscillations that can control how one neuron talks to another neuron, or how one brain area talks to another brain area," said lead author Ryan Canolty, a UC Berkeley graduate student in the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute. "Our study was designed to test the idea that the high-frequency oscillations generated by the brain are coupled to the slower theta oscillations." - UC Berkeley News (Sept 2006)


"A concept of brain-rate is introduced, defining it as the weighted mean frequency of the EEG spectrum. In analogue to the blood pressure, heart-rate and temperature, used as standard preliminary indicators of corresponding general bodily activations, it is proposed to use the brain-rate as a preliminary indicator of general mental activation (mental arousal) level. In addition, along with the more specific few-band biofeedback parameters (theta-beta ratio, relative beta ratio, etc.), the brain-rate could be effectively used as a general multiband biofeedback parameter." - PubMed (Dec 2005)


"McGraw-Hill Science & Technology Encyclopedia: Electroencephalography" - Answers.com







The Event-Related Potential (ERP) technique


"ERPs are voltage fluctuations in the Electroencephalogram (EEG) elicited by the presentation of a controlled stimulus. The latencies of different positive and negative components in an ERP reveal the time course of activation of the neuronal populations that are recruited during the processing of that stimulus." - Research











EEG Machines


 Wikipedia - Comparison of consumer brain–computer interfaces 


 Neurosky Store  and  Neurosky


 Muse - the brain sensing headband


 BrainMaster


 Emotiv






 Engineuring - DIY EEG Devices or Cheap EEG – 2


 Instructables.com - DIY EEG


 Oracle - DIY Rasberry PI EEG


 Makezine.com - DIY Arduino EEG






 EEG Databases


 EEG Machine - How it works