Stay updated
Keep current with the latest trends in technical communication by subscribing to the I'd Rather Be Writing newsletter. 5,800+ subscribers. (See email archive here.)

Search results

Brain Waves and the Stimulation of Motivation/Creativity

by Tom Johnson on Nov 1, 2007 •
categories: creativitytechnical-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.

Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee
Stay current with the latest in tech comm
Keep current with the latest trends in technical communication by subscribing to the I'd Rather Be Writing newsletter. 5,800+ subscribers. (See email archive here.)

follow us in feedly

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.