Potential usefulness of binaural beats in enhancement of working memory Plain Language Summary of PhD Dissertation – By Vahid Rakhshan

Binaural beats are audio illusions. They are perceived when the ears hear similar sounds with a slightly different frequency. There are claims that such hearing illusions may improve some cognitive functions. Our study examined the potential usefulness of 3 different binaural beats in enhancement of working memory, i.e., the ability of the person to hold the information in his mind and use or manipulate it for the sake of his goals. At the same time, we evaluated the effects of these phantom sounds on individuals’ brain signals. For this purpose, we asked 31 subjects to play a computer game that requires people to keep some items in their working memories, while listening to the 3 binaural beat frequencies of 10 Hz, 16 Hz, and 40 Hz, versus no sound at all or a kind of noise called pure tone, which is consisted of sinusoidal waves transmitted to both ears at the same frequency. The results of the game would indicate the capacity of the subject’s working memory under each of the above mentioned 5 audio conditions, i.e., 3 binaural beats, silence, and pure tone. At the same time, we put an EEG cap on the head of the subject to be able to record his or her electrical brain activity. We observed that the 10Hz binaural beat might show certain positive effects on working memory. Also, it was able to slightly strengthen a few connectivity between some brain regions on the front and the center talking to each other at the expense of some brain regions in the back of the brain communicating with each other.