Brain responses to 40-Hz binaural beat and effects on emotion and memory

Int J Psychophysiol. 2017 Oct:120:96-107. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2017.07.010. Epub 2017 Jul 21.


Gamma oscillation plays a role in binding process or sensory integration, a process by which several brain areas beside primary cortex are activated for higher perception of the received stimulus. Beta oscillation is also involved in interpreting received stimulus and occurs following gamma oscillation, and this process is known as gamma-to-beta transition, a process for neglecting unnecessary stimuli in surrounding environment. Gamma oscillation also associates with cognitive functions, memory and emotion. Therefore, modulation of the brain activity can lead to manipulation of cognitive functions. The stimulus used in this study was 40-Hz binaural beat because binaural beat induces frequency following response. This study aimed to investigate the neural oscillation responding to the 40-Hz binaural beat and to evaluate working memory function and emotional states after listening to that stimulus. Two experiments were developed based on the study aims. In the first experiment, electroencephalograms were recorded while participants listened to the stimulus for 30min. The results suggested that frontal, temporal, and central regions were activated within 15min. In the second experiment, word list recall task was conducted before and after listening to the stimulus for 20min. The results showed that, after listening, the recalled words were increase in the working memory portion of the list. Brunel Mood Scale, a questionnaire to evaluate emotional states, revealed changes in emotional states after listening to the stimulus. The emotional results suggested that these changes were consistent with the induced neural oscillations.

Keywords: Beta oscillation; Binaural beat; Emotion; Gamma oscillation; Memory.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Beta Rhythm / physiology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Waves / physiology
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials, Auditory / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Gamma Rhythm / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Mental Recall / physiology*
  • Self Report
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult