Brain Activity Rhythms: What Is it?

Brain activity is triggered by synchronous work of many neurons. Like tiny generators, they produce electrical oscillations, whose frequency and amplitude can be tracked with electroencephalography. Scientists call these electrical oscillations brain activity rhythms. To obtain these rhythms, researchers put a cap with specifically located wires on an individual’s head. The wires touch the scalp, registering electrical impulses produced by our neurons. Electroencephalograph amplifies the signals of these impulses and records them in your computer or any other device for further processing with algorithms. These impulses are what directly impacts our sleep, awakeness, tiredness, and inspiration.

Researchers measure brain activity rhythms frequency in Hz and range them. Alpha rhythms usually belong to 8−13 Hz, they indicate passive state and weak focus. Beta rhythms have higher frequencies —13 Hz +, they are associated with active cognitive processes and sharp focus. Delta rhythms (0.5−4 Hz) and theta rhythms (4−8 Hz) mark deep sleep or special states of awakeness, for example, trance.

Brain activity rhythms can be affected by external stimuli, such as special sounds, as well as electrical and visual stimulation. American psychologist Thomas Budzynski studied brain rhythms and their impact on cognitive processes and an individual’s emotional state. Among other things, he found out that solving metaphorical and creative tasks was easier in the alpha state, while beta states promoted solving complex mathematical calculations, but if you just need to absorb certain information, theta state can help you best.

You can control your brain rhythms through mindfulness, the ability to be in the moment and focus on your inner state. There are many practices and methods to boost your mindfulness: meditation, biofeedback, smartphone apps. Breathing practices allow entering the alpha-rhythm state that promotes relaxation and reduces stress. Biofeedback technology is based on using devices to monitor brain activity real-time. A person actually sees their brain rhythms on the device screen. This technology requires practice, and with time you can learn to control your brain rhythms, entering the desired state for specific tasks.

The brain activity rhythms of a person are unique. Observing and studying them helps us better understand how our memory, attention, and mind work, as well as where our energy goes, and why sometimes our motivation shines through brighter than usual.

So, it is obvious that the mind tracker we developed is becoming a valuable tool for observing and analyzing brain rhythms. Not only it reads them, but also processes complex data into comprehensible metrics that help deeper understand your brain activity. Moreover, we added an alpha training to make sure that you easily learn how to control your brain through mind tracker. This training is the cornerstone of becoming mindful and controlling your alpha rhythms. And if you want to learn more about the mechanisms and benefits of the biofeedback training, we write about them in more detail here.

Moreover, you can follow the links below to get some relevant information on brain activity rhythms. There's a lot of interesting stuff!

Brain neural patterns and the memory function of sleep Gabrielle Girardeau, Vítor Lopes-Dos-Santos
Mechanisms of gamma oscillations György Buzsáki, Xiao-Jing Wang
Analysis of electroencephalography brain rhythms in the reading process Camila Davi Ramos
Affective modulation of cognitive control: A systematic review of EEG studies. Francisco Ahumada-Méndez
Alpha and beta cortical activity during guitar playing: task complexity and audiovisual stimulus analysis, José Artur Aragão Leite
Theta and alpha power across fast and slow timescales in cognitive control Pieter Huycke