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I was learning about brain waves, i.e. gamma, alpha, beta, etc., and was wondering what would happen if you mixed them together - e.g. I listened to Gamma waves and Delta waves at the same time. Would I get some sort of brain damage or is the brain able to handle that?

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closed as unclear what you're asking by MattDMo, James, AliceD, WYSIWYG Nov 23 '16 at 10:21

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • $\begingroup$ Your question is very unclear. What do you mean by "listening" to brain waves? Do you mean hooking someone (yourself?) up to an EEG and using software to translate the various types of waves to sound? The only damage you'll get is to your ears if the volume is too high. Why on earth would you get brain damage? $\endgroup$ – MattDMo Nov 21 '16 at 17:42
  • $\begingroup$ how it is possible to 'mix' some brain waves? as well; isn't we naturally get all- ranges of neural-rhythms (alpha, beta, delta, theta, etc) on same-scalp at same time? $\endgroup$ – Always Confused Nov 21 '16 at 18:19
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Everyone has a mix of ongoing oscillations, of brain waves, at any given point. Some frequencies of waves are more or less likely to co-occur with other types of waves.

In general, brain activity follows roughly a power law distribution - that is, there is more power at lower frequencies and that power decreases in a predictable way as you go to higher frequencies.

When researchers talk about brain waves at a particular frequency, they are talking about a deviation from power law at that frequency - if they say "gamma waves" what they really mean is "there is more energy at gamma frequencies than we would expect if things were random."

Some of these deviations are predictable with changes in brain state - for example, low frequency (delta) activity is greater during sleep, and higher frequency (gamma) activity is higher during cognition.

It should also be understood that these terms really come from a method of data analysis such as Fourier analysis that breaks a signal down into component frequencies. It isn't necessary that a signal is actually produced by combinations of sine waves to break that signal down into component sine waves and describe it that way.

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