The effects binaural beats in academic performance, Pallavi Singamsetty

My research explores the idea of binaural beats influencing academic performance. Binaural beats are frequencies that are picked up by your auditory cortex and can have varying effects on your body. For example, you could be listening to a 400 Hz beat in your left ear and 420 Hz beat in your right ear. You brain subconsciously picks up a third beat by subtracting both of the beats supplied, which is the binaural beat. Since the difference is 20 Hz, this would correlate with the alpha frequency. In my study, I’m focusing on five main types of beats; delta (1-4Hz) , theta (4-8 Hz) , alpha (8-13 Hz) , beta (13-30 Hz) , and gamma (30-50 Hz). All these frequencies have been proven to cause different effects; delta is mainly used for deep sleep and calming states, theta is used for meditation and increasing creativity, alpha is linked to decreasing anxiety and increasing positivity, beta is used for increased concentration, memory and problem solving, and lastly, gamma is linked to increased cognitive enhancement and increased attention/ focus. These frequencies also come with restrictions such as not being able to go over 100 Hz when adding both the beats and the difference of the beats cannot exceed 50 Hz. My goal is to supply these frequencies to subjects, give them an academic test, and attempt to confirm my theory.

This study will be performed by 120 subjects who are then divided into groups of 20. Each group of 20 will then be divided into both females and males. We will have 6 groups: control, delta, theta, alpha, beta and gamma. According to a study done by Orozco in 2020 confirmed that some patients reacted negatively towards the alpha frequency which is the reason why we will be performing a dopamine test first. We will do this by first injecting all 120 subjects with radioactive iodine otherwise known as the “DATScan Drug” which will light up dopamine receptors in the brain. This drug takes about 5 hours for us to see the complete effect, so we will need to have the patient return after a couple hours and scan their brain with the use of a SPECT/CT scanner. The results of the dopamine test will not categorize the patients but will instead help us explain patterns in our data.

The most crucial step is supplying these beats which will happen right after the dopamine test is completed. We will have our patients lie down in a chair and listen to their assigned beat for about 8 hours in a quiet environment. Around the 6 hour mark we will be giving them a list of vocabulary words to test the memorization ability of our patients. During this time, we will also be monitoring their brain patterns with the help of an EEG which will be saved and used when assessing patterns. Our control group will be treated the same just as our other patients but will not be given a frequency. They will be given a dopamine test, a vocabulary list around the 6-hour mark, the academic exam, but they will be wearing headphone with no audio for 8 hours instead. The final step of the process would be giving our subjects an academic exam. Immediately after our patients have completed listening to their beats they will be transported into another room with all the patients and will be given 1 hour to complete their academic exam which will contain a few math problems and the vocabulary they were given to memorize previously.

One of our biggest obstacles in this experiment will be trying to keep it neutral. To maintain the structure of our results we will be recruiting 19-21 year old college students who have completed a basic math class. We will not be disclosing which patients have been selected for a certain beat to maintain accuracy in our results. The patients also cannot have any existing conditions that may interfere with the experiment. All our subjects will also be individually monitored by research assistants who will be taking detailed notes about their body language, abnormal brain waves, and the time it took for them to complete the exam. All patients will also be asked to sign a human consent form which will include what is expected of them and an overview of our process. In this experiment we hope to see that the group supplied with the gamma or beta frequency will produce higher test results than the groups that have the delta or theta frequency. The purpose of this study is to help students have an edge when they’re nervous for an exam. Of course, studying is important but there can be a way to enhance cognitive ability. These frequencies not only will calm you down. but also, may be the key to increasing your academic performance.

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