chapter  5
18 Pages

Audio-visual entrainment

Staring into the flickering flames of an open fire can often produce a calm state of reverie. Of course, this may be due in part to the feeling of warmth generated by the heat of the fire, but it may also be related to the flickering light of the flames. The idea that a flickering stimulus can influence behaviour is responsible for the warnings given out prior to certain television programmes, or films that incorporate flashing lights. Such warnings are given because these flashing lights can directly influence the electrocortical activity of the human brain, encouraging it to mimic, or repeat the pattern of, the flashes. For most people this doesn’t pose a problem, but for those suffering from epilepsy it has the potential to induce a seizure. Knowing that an external stimulus, whether light or sound, can result in what’s commonly referred to as an entrainment effect on the brain has led to the development of a variety of products aimed at inducing such effects to help stimulate certain behaviours. Advocates of audio-visual entrainment equipment suggest that it can produce a range of beneficial effects on behaviour, including reducing stress, boosting IQ, accelerating learning, enhancing creativity and improving memory.