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Gamma Brain Waves

The Research:
Gamma brain waves are the highest frequency brain wave type. A variety of studies have associated gamma with the formation of ideas, linguistic processing and various types of learning. Gamma waves have also been linked to the cognitive act of processing memories- the rate of the waves seems to correlate with the speed at which a subject can recall memories; the faster the waves, the faster the recollection.

Gamma waves have been shown to disappear during deep sleep induced by anesthesia, but return with the transition back to a wakeful state.

A recent Scientific American article discussed gamma waves in conjunction with long-term Buddhist meditation practitioners. It was found that the experienced meditators demonstrated self-induced, high-amplitude gamma oscillations during meditation. Researchers also noted that their gamma activity differed significantly from those in a control group, both during the meditation and before they even began. Interestingly enough, a similarly strong presence of gamma waves throughout the cortex has been observed in musicians listening to music, compared against a control group of non-musicians.

One current theory even suggests that gamma brain waves may play a role in creating the unity of conscious perception. Research into this theory is still ongoing, and the question is a difficult one to answer with certainty at this time. Though a further investigation is yet to be completed, the theory points to a very interesting possibility that gamma waves are involved in self-awareness.

The studies highlighted in the infographic above were cited in Dr. Tina Huang's landmark overview of brainwave stimulation, "A Comprehensive Review of the Psychological Effects of Brainwave Entrainment."

To be included in that review, articles had to be original, full-length journal articles in peer-reviewed journals, and the studies had to be of an experimental design, with outcomes measured using reliable and appropriate test procedures, and with statistical outcomes revealed.

That highly selective criteria means that these studies represent only a portion of all of the work conducted in this field, but are some of the most significant. Keep reading to learn more about the incredible results of this research.