#107: Brainwave Entrainment

December 18, 2015

Electricity, magnetic fields and sound waves are three separate forces, capable of stimulating our brain for cognitive effects (reality) and Jedi mind tricks (fantasy).  The first two recently featured in our Electroceuticals episode and this week we check out sound waves.  Jesse is joined by Adam Hewett and Junaid Kalmadi, co-founders of, an online service that aims to improve focus, relaxation and sleep with music engineered by a proprietary Artificial Intelligence system.  Tune in to learn more about the science behind audio brainwave entrainment, its history, and potential for future development.

Speaking of sound and music – Jesse also shares some news from the world of neuroscience about how your personality plays a role in your musical ability.  (Who knew?)  Take this quiz before signing up for your local caroling group and letting the jingle bells rock.

PS:  Gold star for all those who can name the 3 video games referenced in this episode and also for those who sign up for the weekly delivery of Brain Breakfast – fresh from Jesse’s brain to your inbox.

Show Notes
  • 00:00:39

    Artificial Intelligence, music production and cognitive enhancement.

  • 00:01:30

    This Week In Neuroscience: Personality and musical ability.

  • 00:03:42

    The audience interaction segment.

  • 00:06:23

    Jesse introduces the founders of

  • 00:08:02

    The elevator pitch.

  • 00:08:53

    Affecting brainwaves with sound waves.

  • 00:10:17

    Technology behind 3D and surround sound.

  • 00:12:23

    Binaural beats.

  • 00:13:17

    Mechanism of action and the importance of stereo output.

  • 00:14:31

    Individual variation.

  • 00:16:03

    Music types and genres on

  • 00:17:28

    Perceptual effects.

  • 00:19:02

    The AI behind

  • 00:20:40

    Variation among respondents.

  • 00:22:13

    Developments in the field of sound waves.

  • 00:22:55

    Placebo controlled study.

  • 00:23:43

    Dose response curve.

  • 00:24:25

    Mood adjustment.

  • 00:25:48

    Navigating uncharted territory.

  • 00:27:05

    Jesse’s thoughts on using sound waves for brain entrainment.

  • 00:28:31

    Ruthless Listener Retention Gimmick: "Bah Humbug" syndrome.


  1. Yolanda says:

    I am HOOKED on I tried it as soon as I was done listening to this podcast and I’ve been using it nonstop while working ever since. I use the intense focus tracks and find myself lost in my work. I’m not just much more productive, but I enjoy work a lot more, too.

    1. Jesse Lawler says:

      Glad that’s working out for ya! 🙂

  2. ben says:

    This episode reminded me of the neurofeedback episode (4), where the brain naturally, without training, knows how to optimize itself just by watching/listening to an artificial visual/audio representation that someone programmed.

    I’m surprised they have such little regard to binaural beats, especially since the music sounds so similar, at least to my un-trained ears. Would be interesting to hear what they think of Max Richter’s ‘From Sleep’. That’s music that was created in collaboration with neuroscientist David Eagleman just for the purpose of inducing sleep.

    Finally, radiolab had a great episode on anesthesia (“Decoding the Void”), where they talk about the surprising science of brain waves before and after anesthesia is applied!

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