Brain Responses to a 6-Hz Binaural Beat: Effects on General Theta Rhythm and Frontal Midline Theta Activity

Front Neurosci. 2017 Jun 28;11:365. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2017.00365. eCollection 2017.


A binaural beat is a beat phenomenon that is generated by the dichotic presentation of two almost equivalent pure tones but with slightly different frequencies. The brain responses to binaural beats remain controversial; therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate theta activity responses to a binaural beat by controlling factors affecting localization, including beat frequency, carrier tone frequency, exposure duration, and recording procedure. Exposure to a 6-Hz binaural beat on a 250 Hz carrier tone for 30 min was utilized in this study. Quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG) was utilized as the recording modality. Twenty-eight participants were divided into experimental and control groups. Emotional states were evaluated by Brunel Mood Scale (BRMUS) before and after exposing to the stimulus. The results showed that theta activity was induced in the entire cortex within 10 min of exposure to the stimulus in the experimental group. Compared to the control group, theta activity was also induced at the frontal and parietal-central regions, which included the Fz position, and left hemisphere dominance was presented for other exposure durations. The pattern recorded for 10 min of exposure appeared to be brain functions of a meditative state. Moreover, tension factor of BRUMS was decreased in experimental group compared to control group which resembled the meditation effect. Thus, a 6-Hz binaural beat on a 250 Hz carrier tone was suggested as a stimulus for inducing a meditative state.

Keywords: EEG; binaural beat; brain response; dichotic stimulation; meditation.