Eliminating the Attentional Blink through Binaural Beats: A Case for Tailored Cognitive Enhancement

Front Psychiatry. 2015 Jun 4;6:82. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2015.00082. eCollection 2015.


Enhancing human cognitive performance is a topic that continues to spark scientific interest. Studies into cognitive-enhancement techniques often fail to take inter-individual differences into account, however, which leads to underestimation of the effectiveness of these techniques. The current study investigated the effect of binaural beats, a cognitive-enhancement technique, on attentional control in an attentional blink (AB) task. As predicted from a neurocognitive approach to cognitive control, high-frequency binaural beats eliminated the AB, but only in individuals with low spontaneous eye-blink rates (indicating low striatal dopamine levels). This suggests that the way in which cognitive-enhancement techniques, such as binaural beats, affect cognitive performance depends on inter-individual differences.

Keywords: attention; attentional blink; binaural beats; cognitive enhancement; dopamine; neurotransmitters.