More attentional focusing through binaural beats: evidence from the global-local task

Psychol Res. 2017 Jan;81(1):271-277. doi: 10.1007/s00426-015-0727-0. Epub 2015 Nov 26.


A recent study showed that binaural beats have an impact on the efficiency of allocating attention over time. We were interested to see whether this impact affects attentional focusing or, even further, the top-down control over irrelevant information. Healthy adults listened to gamma-frequency (40 Hz) binaural beats, which are assumed to increase attentional concentration, or a constant tone of 340 Hz (control condition) for 3 min before and during a global-local task. While the size of the congruency effect (indicating the failure to suppress task-irrelevant information) was unaffected by the binaural beats, the global-precedence effect (reflecting attentional focusing) was considerably smaller after gamma-frequency binaural beats than after the control condition. Our findings suggest that high-frequency binaural beats bias the individual attentional processing style towards a reduced spotlight of attention.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Auditory Perception*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Psychoacoustics*
  • Young Adult