Technology Serving Consciousness

Attention

Through studies done on inattention (with an EEG) there has been a clear correlation drawn between slow frequency brain pulses and the perceptual state of "inattention". Especially in the frontal and left side of the brain which are the cognitive/decision maker and the language/number processor respectively. The map of brain speeds will be a helpful addition to this information. When there is only slow pulse activity in the areas of cognition and language, it stands to reason that there will not be much usable energy at hand to deal with an executive demand.

What this appears like from the outside is a quiet, well-mannered person who speaks only when he or she must. Most outward mannerisms would not help you to see that the person is actually in a predominantly visual state. However, the moment you give this person something to read and comprehend; or some math problems to solve; or some verbal instructions; or a list to prioritize; or any of the many tasks for which we use those areas of the brain, you see him or her begin the task and shortly thereafter cease progress. This person is sometimes staring off of or sometimes looking intently through the paper. This person might follow the first one or two instructions that you gave but would be hard pressed by the third task to remember the rest. He may keep reading, but will likely have begun thinking of other things and not comprehend the meaning of that string of words he continues to read- not having noticed that he’s "gone away."

Everyone has experienced inattention. We can watch for what time of day, after what foods (or lack of them), and with how much rest we are most attentive. But we all fluctuate. And so there is no guilt or error in bouts of inattention. Some people spend a lot of time disconnected from the language and linear thought processes. Some people can not spend even 30 seconds without losing focus. The greater a person's inattention, the more obvious will be the benefit of doing Neurofeedback (NF) training to build attention span.

What has happened in one of the examples of cognitive inattention is that when the person received the task he began using his cognitive brain actively. He continued until the usable energy (oxygen and glucose, carried by the blood) was burned up. At that moment this person’s brain was no longer able to continue at that highly active pace and so went back to baseline operation levels while awaiting a recharge. This is the moment the person began to stare; or stopped writing. However, because of the subjective nature of our Experience, it is likely that the person did not even notice that he’d drifted.

With NF, the person will be generating musical tones when using the faster speed pulses in those brain areas. And when "drifting" the tones will stop. So there is an objective measure that can be made upon successful cognition. With repetition the person becomes gradually more skilled at maintaining the feedback sounds- even while doing progressively more demanding tasks. Even while doing the most difficult task of all: apparently nothing. Simply being focused and generating tones while remaining relaxed and restful.

As the metabolic capacity for brain processing at this higher speed is being expanded in the NF sessions, it is also being reinforced during every work or school day. So in the NF sessions we build stamina and strength in a "muscle" which gets used VERY regularly (in our information society). There will be no atrophy of this "muscle" so long as one keeps scheduling appointments, and balancing checkbooks, and reading new books, and performing the basic functions of one’s job. A person can only grow stronger.

This is a process of growth through reinforcement. A NF program for attention will ask of you two hours a week in sessions. This imprinting rhythm goes on for 15 weeks and then tapers down to one a week until somewhere between 30 and 40 sessions are completed. The training lasts about 5 months, in which time lifelong benefits are ingrained into ones daily routine. Doing exercises outside the safety of our office enhances progress. Some adults are able to make significant changes (through effort) in 20 sessions. Of course the overall length of training depends upon whether a person is coming in with a deficit or a desire to enhance an already normal attention span.