Student-Faculty Programs Office
Summer 2017 Announcements of Opportunity

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Project:  Neuromodulation Using Brain Wave Entrainment
Disciplines:  Computation and Neural Systems, Computer Science
Mentor:  Shinsuke Shimojo, Professor, (BBE),
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
AO Contact:  Kyongsik Yun,
Background:  Brain wave entrainment is a method to modulate neuronal oscillatory activity using external sensory signals, including auditory, visual, and electromagnetic stimulations. The method is based on the phenomenon that neural oscillations can adjust to synchronize with the periodic vibration of an external stimulus.

A binaural beat is a technique to generate an inaudible frequency sound (1-20Hz) to modulate brain waves. An auditory illusion is perceived when two different pure-tone sine waves (both with audible frequencies lower than 1500Hz) are presented to a listener dichotically (one through each ear). For example, if a 400Hz pure tone is presented to a subject’s right ear, while a 404Hz pure tone is presented to the subject’s left ear, the listener’s brain will perceive the auditory illusion of a third tone (4Hz), that being the difference between the pure tones presented to each ear. The listener cannot hear the 4Hz tone but still her/his brain tends to synchronize into the frequency unconsciously.

Human subjects rarely hear frequencies below 20Hz, whereas 1-20Hz frequency is the main brain wave range governing various cognitive processes. A binaural beat is a non-invasive, auditory method to tap into the modulation of brain waves that are inaudible in nature.
Description:  The project is to modulate intrinsic neural oscillations using binaural beats in human subjects. Behavioral experiments include testing of cognitive/memory function, sleep efficiency, and motor performance. The student will work on the design of the experiments, testing of subjects, and analysis of data. Exploration to other neuromodulation technologies is not limited but encouraged.
Student Requirements:  Good programming (matlab or python) and math (statistics, modeling) skills required
iOS/Android programming skills preferred
Background in behavioral/cognitive neuroscience and EEG preferred
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       Amgen Scholars    Non-Caltech students only  
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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Problems with or questions about submitting an AO?  Call Jen Manglos of the Student-Faculty Programs Office at (626) 395-2885.
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