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Beta and Gamma Binaural Beats Enhance Auditory Sentence Comprehension

A college student wars headphones while working on their laptop in a quiet library.

Psychological Research

Hyun-Woong Kim, Jenna Happe and Yune Sang Lee

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Often called an "auditory illusion," a binaural beat is the perception of two pure tones differing in frequency and simultaneously presented one in each ear. Growing research suggests binaural beats can enhance brain performance and feelings of well-being. This study investigates how binaural beat stimulation impacts auditory language comprehension. In experiment one, investigators exposed one hundred undergraduate students to theta (7 Hz), beta (18 Hz) and gamma (40 Hz) binaural beats, hypothesizing these frequency bands would enhance sentence comprehension performance, in particular processing of sentence structures shown to be more difficult to comprehend. Promising findings motivated experiment 2 with a new group of college students. Investigators administered new versions of their language assessments, this time tracking the accuracy of participants in identifying sentences created with one of three defined morpho-syntactic errors. Findings presented in this paper suggest exposure to beta and gamma binaural beats can have positive effects on auditory language comprehension. However, further research is needed to explore the broader impact of the binaural beat effect and the role of beta and gamma binaural beats on complex sentence comprehension.

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Yune S. Lee, PhD

Assistant Professor, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences Director of Speech, Language, and Music (SLAM) Laboratory

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