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  • Writer's pictureBernard Beitman, MD

The Consciousness Code: Sound Frequency and Synchronicity

A potential pathway to synchronicity: sound frequency and entrainment.


 

Key Points

  • Frequency is the number of repeats of a sound wave. It evokes an immediate subconscious emotional response.

  • Rhythm, the carrier of frequency, is embedded in physiological processes, social, and sensory inputs.

  • Entrainment is a rhythm that mirrors the rhythm of an oscillating body to synchronize with another system.

  • Sound frequency and entrainment could be forms of nature by which to investigate synchronicity.

 

Written by Bernard D. Beitman M.D. and Ruslana Remennikova, MS.


Since the beginning of human civilization, history has shown a correlation between sound and cognitive, mental, and physical wellness. (1) In most experiences, sound is part of a larger context. In terms of physics, a sound is composed of a waveform called frequency expressed in Hertz (Hz), a standard international measurement. Although frequency is used as a measurement in electromagnetic radiation, computing, and other electrical technologies, for sound, one Hz is equal to one completed cycle per second or the number of times a sound wave repeats itself in one second. Frequency is the overlap of vibration and synchronization in the fields of neuroscience, biochemistry, physics, and sonics.


When an object is in motion, its oscillating movement is a vibration. Frequency is the measure of how many times per second that motion repeats. For instance, when a harp string is plucked (e.g. the A above middle C musical note), its vibrating movement emits a frequency of 440 Hz. The musical note vibrates at a frequency of 440 Hertz or 440 regular back and forths per second.


Frequency elicits an immediate response in humans — 30 milliseconds faster than visuals (2) — and sets the tone for the emotional state of an experience. The conducive behavior of frequency is evident in the language of brain waves. There are five widely recognized brain wave states characterized by their frequency bands: Gamma (>35Hz; concentration), beta (12-35 Hz; busy, active mind), alpha (8-12 Hz; reflective, restful), theta (4-8 Hz; deeply relaxed, dreamy), delta (0.5-4 Hz; unconscious).


Psychology and Frequency


A 900-adult study performed by Sentient Decision and Made Music studio found that the subconscious emotional appeal of a sound is 86% correlated with our conscious desire to engage with an experience or avoid it. (3) The experiment quantified the impact of sound on people’s subconscious emotional responses as it relates to a variety of experiences using a refined computerized technique called Implicit Association Testing (IAT). IAT measures the stretch of an individual’s associations between concepts and emotions, in this particular study using sound frequency as the variable.


The experiment evaluated twenty short-form sounds on an emotional appeal and respondent’s desire to engage or avoid an experience associated with them. The subset consisted of ten naturally-occurring sounds and ten designed sounds associated intentionally with a product or brand (e.g. a home security keypad alert). It coupled visual queues and response time, prompting participants to accurately sort emotions, primed by a short sound clip. The results suggest a method to explore conscious desire (experiences that we seek out) and introduce a fascinating synchrony.


The most unpleasant sound tested was a pained scream and the baby laughter was the most pleasant. (3) The study found that the subconscious emotional appeal of a sound is highly correlated with our conscious desire to engage with an experience or avoid it. The synchronization between emotional valence and sound introduces the physics concept of entrainment. Like Gravity, entrainment, the synchronization of two more rhythmic cycles, exists everywhere around us, all the time.


Entrainment


Although the aforementioned study examines the emotional correlations to sound frequency, the experience of an emotion generally accompanies a physiological or behavior change in the body and state of being. Clinical research demonstrates the positive effects of low frequency within hemodynamic, neurological, and musculoskeletal systems using rhythmic sensory stimulation. (4) Rhythmic sensory stimulation is broadly conceived as entrainment. (5)


Entrainment is an organic rhythm that mirrors the rhythm of the stimuli. In nature, a maple leaf will fly the same speed as the wind gusts. A stick will float as fast or slow as the river’s current. In moon cycle synchronization, women who spend a lot of time together menstruate at the same time. In sound healing, the brain wave frequency locks into phase with an oscillating sound frequency from the use of instruments to vibrate in a calmer, harmonic state. When brainwave entrainment elicits this relaxation response, the body’s metabolism and circulation slows down, lowering the heart rate, pulse rate, and blood pressure and can even lead to a drop in body temperature. This physiological phenomenon is not only the basis of inducing deep relaxation, enhanced focus, trance, reflection, and sleep, but also introduces a broader conversation about the heart of the connection between the science of consciousness and synchronicity.


To explore the waves of synchronicity through entrainment in meditative practices, it is important to consider meditation as it relates not only to the business, education, and self-help cultures in the West, but also as a system of rhythmic vibration on the neurobiological development of the brain. A search on the word "meditation" on pubmed yields nearly 10,000 articles. One study revealed the brain’s activation during focused attention, open monitoring, and self-transcending meditations by distinct EEG patterns. (6) Another study estimated that the brains of meditators at the age of 50 are 7.5 years younger than those of controls. (7) Therefore, it is evident that the effects of entrainment (or the ability of an oscillating body to synchronize with another system) in a meditative practice directly affect brain patterns, consciousness, mindfulness, and awareness.


Given their omnipresent and ubiquitous nature, rhythms are embedded in physiological processes, social interactions, and sensory inputs. Synchronicity is a rhythmic organic form of nature. Similar to any vibrating system, synchronicity is characterized by rhythmic stimulation.[1] In the next article, synchronicity will be examined through the lens of consciousness, awareness, and the neurobiology of meditation as it relates to sonics and entrainment in order to coalesce the recognition of rhythmic patterns in nature.


 

References

  1. Plato. The Republic. Translated by Desomond Lee, 2nd ed., Penguin, 2007.

  2. Johnson, R. C., & Al, E. (1985). Galton’s data a century later. American Psychologist, 40(8), 875-892. doi:10.1037//0003-066x.40.8.875

  3. Perlmutter, K., Nair, A., McCandless, C. Cracking the code on sound in experience design. Made Music Studio. https://mademusicstudio.com/sonicpulse-whitepaper/

  4. Naghdi L, Ahonen H, Macario P, Bartel L. The effect of low-frequency sound stimulation on patients with fibromyalgia: a clinical study. Pain Res Manag. 2015 Jan-Feb;20(1):e21-7. doi: 10.1155/2015/375174.

  5. Notbohm, A., Kurths, J., and Herrmann, C. S. (2016). Modification of brain oscillations via rhythmic light stimulation provides evidence for entrainment but not for superposition of event-related responses. Front. Hum. Neurosci. 3, 10. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2016.00010

  6. Travis F. On the Neurobiology of Meditation: Comparison of Three Organizing Strategies to Investigate Brain Patterns during Meditation Practice. Medicina (Kaunas). 2020 Dec 18;56(12):712. doi: 10.3390/medicina56120712.

  7. Luders E., Cherbuin N., Gaser C. Estimating brain age using high-resolution pattern recognition: Younger brains in long-term meditation practitioners. Neuroimage. 2016;134:508–513. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.04.007

 
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