‘Expand your mind, master your memories, claim your destiny’.
It sounds quite fantastical, doesn’t it? The kind of instruction you’d receive from a sage sensei on a mountain-top. The kind of goals you’d dedicate years of deep, daily meditation to achieve. But, this is the 21st century – we don’t need to umm and ahh lotus-style to control and improve our brain’s memory power. In fact, we don’t even need to leave the sofa.
As I’m sure you know, the word binaural means “having or relating to two ears”, so what on earth has this got to do with improving our memory? Well, binaural beats allows us to reach different mood states by controlling the type of brain waves bouncing around our heads.
At any given moment, our brain is creating frequencies depending on what state we are in: from the deep sleep of Delta (0.5-4Hz) to the peak concentration of Gamma (above 38Hz). When our brain listens to two different frequencies in each ear, it makes up the difference (the binaural beat) and puts us in the corresponding state. For example, if we want to put ourselves in the pleasurable, relaxed alpha state (8-12Hz), we could listen to 150Hz and 140Hz beats and our brain will make up a binaural beat of 10Hz, the same as an alpha wave.
As such, we can use these beats for a variety of purposes, from increased productivity to better, more restful sleep. In particular, binaural beats can help us enhance our memory by putting our brains into certain states. For instance, the Center for Neuroscience in California found Theta (4-8Hz) entrainment enhances memory performance, while increasing gamma waves improves both short-term and long-term memory.
First off, gamma waves are not like gamma rays. They may both have fast frequencies, but the brain’s gamma waves don’t cause nuclear explosions as far as I’m aware. Instead, they are found to be active when in states of heightened consciousness, spiritual enlightenment and peak concentration. Those ‘Eureka’ moments. Those ‘hallelujah’ moments. Those ‘I’m nailing this blog’ moments.
They also have a positive impact on memory. Infrared products like Joovv use light therapy to help improve brain health and cognitive functions, while gamma waves are also at the forefront of research into treating neurological disorders. Alzheimer’s sufferers have reduced gamma oscillations and a high prevalence of the protein amyloid, which builds up like plaque on the brain and impedes their cognitive functions. MIT scientist Li-Huei Tsai found using strobe lights to induce gamma waves in mice reduced the amyloid in their brains providing hope that similar light therapy could be used on humans. For those just looking for a gamma hit, personal infrared products like Joovv are becoming increasingly popular.
Nowadays, you can’t get on a bus, tram or train without seeing adults crushing candy or ninja-ing fruit. App-based puzzle games are synonymous with the smartphone revolution and many have been made specifically to enhance memory skills, such as Lumosity, which increases focus on useful items over unhelpful ones, and Eidetic, which uses ‘spaced repetition’ to boost learning and memory capacity.
Meanwhile, the University of Minnesota found that playing action video games enhances visual selective attention as looking out for clues and bad guys translate into real-life detection skills. The US Military has long known about video games’ potential and creates games like Full Spectrum Warrior to train virtual soldiers so they have memories to call upon in the heat of battle.
Video games can improve memory by providing a visually immersive and interactive experience. Rebel & Soul’s live neuroexperiences work in exactly the same way, albeit affecting more senses and more people.
Kristy Castleton is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of Calyx Technology, a global technology company who streamline consumer experiences. She is also the Founder and CEO of Rebel & Soul, a socially conscious business that produces highly memorable events for global brands across Asia Pacific. She is an extrovert and a geek, passionate about neuroscience and technology. He company Rebel & Soul works with brands like Heineken, HSBC, Chanel and MINI and agencies such as Dentsu and Saatchi & Saatchi to create events that pack a punch. Think wearables, gamification, holograms and virtual reality mixed with awesome music and a free flow bar. Rebel & Soul’s vision is to drive event technology to be the new frontier of marketing in Asia. Kristy spent years working on weird and wonderful events and campaigns in Europe at festivals like F1’s and the Olympics and wanted to bring a snippet of the event marketing fun out east. Kristy was nominated by Campaign Asia to be on their Women to Watch list. Team Rebel also provides pro bono event consultancy for local charities and non-profits. These initiatives include Billion Bricks, Thomson Reuters Trust Forum, Buy1Give1, and the 100 Resilient Cities initiative by the Rockefeller Foundation. Rebel & Soul won Excellence in Technology& Innovation award, Start-Up Excellence and Customer Engagement by the BritCham for its 18th Annual Business Awards. Kristy holds a Bachelor in Business Studies from Edinburgh University.