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Brain Waves and the Stimulation of Motivation/Creativity

by Tom Johnson on Nov 1, 2007
categories: creativity technical-writing

brain wavesI listened to virtual rain fall for several hours today, trying to determine whether the pitter-patter of the falling rain is, as the Writer's Mind CD says, stimulating the Alpha waves of my brain and causing my motivation and creative synapses to fire with extra pep as I write.

Honestly, I can't tell. The Writer's Mind CD is supposed to stimulate your brain waves to give you both creativity (by selecting Track 1) or motivation (by selecting Track 2), but it just sounds like rain to me. But even the falling rain seems to focus my attention. It tricks me into really thinking it's raining outside, which makes me feel cozy inside my safe shelter.

To be fair, the falling rain is just a mask over the frequencies that would probably otherwise be intolerable to listen to. In a nutshell, here's how the technology is supposed to work. Your brain emits different wave patterns (Gamma, Beta, Alpha, Theta, Delta) based on moods. The Delta frequencies you emit during sleep contrast with the Alpha frequencies you emit during more creative states. So if you can refocus those Delta waves into Alpha waves, maybe you'll stop falling asleep at your desk and instead feel motivated to write.

Someone just sent me the CD for free. Check out their site -- Writers Mind -- if you're interested. It seems a bit gimmicky to me, and if were really true that you could transport yourself into a creative state through these practically inaudible frequencies, then there would also be CDs out there to remove anger, help you sleep, motivate you to exercise, compel you spend money, etc. (actually, there probably already are these CDs).

I think that if this technology works, it has a 10 percent or less effect on my actual thoughts. The human mind is complex. We may emit certain frequencies based on our moods, but it doesn't mean that hearing those frequencies will have the reverse effect of changing our moods.

However, despite my skepticism, I have to admit that I keep playing the CD whenever I don't feel like writing, and it seems to help a little, if nothing more than to provide white noise to blanket out other talk going on. I prefer music when I write, and this soundtrack (a rain downpour) provides the audible without any distracting words.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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