Archives of Acoustics, 38, 4, pp. 517–528, 2013

Effect of Binaural Stimulation on Attention and EEG

Adela CRESPO
Centro de Ac´ustica Aplicada y Evaluación no Destructiva, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cient´ıficas (CAEND-CSIC)

Manuel RECUERO
Centro de Ac´ustica Aplicada y Evaluación no Destructiva, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cient´ıficas (CAEND-CSIC)

Gerardo GALVEZ
Centro de Ac´ustica Aplicada y Evaluación no Destructiva, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cient´ıficas (CAEND-CSIC)

Adrian BEGONA
Centro de Ac´ustica Aplicada y Evaluación no Destructiva, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cient´ıficas (CAEND-CSIC)

When two pure tones of slightly different frequency are presented separately to each ear, the listener
perceives a third single tone with amplitude variations at a frequency that equals the difference between
the two tones; this perceptual illusion is known as the binaural auditory beat (BB). There are anecdotal
reports that suggest that the binaural beat can entrain EEG activity and may affect the arousal levels,
although few studies have been published.
There is a need for double-blind, well-designed studies in order to establish a solid foundation for
these sounds, as most of the documented benefits come from self-reported cases that could be affected by
placebo effect. As BBs are a cheap technology (it even exists a free open source programmable binaural-
beat generator on the Internet named Gnaural), any achievement in this area could be of public interest.
The aim in our research was to explore the potential of BBs in a particular field: tasks that require
focus and concentration. In order to detect changes in the brain waves that could relate to any particular
improvement, EEG recordings of a small sample of individuals were also obtained.
In this study we compare the effect of different binaural stimulation in 7 EEG frequency ranges. 78
participants were exposed to 20-min binaural beat stimulation. The effects were obtained both quali-
tative with cognitive test and quantitative with EEG analysis. Results suggest no significant statistical
improvement in 20-min stimulation.
Keywords: binaural auditory beats; attention; frequency following response.
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