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A collegue of mine is trying binaural beats for productivity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binaural_beats I don't know what it is yet, but apparently it's special sounds that can have a relaxing effect.

Do you know of any success concerning productivity?

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up vote 11 down vote accepted

I think http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4147 is a wonderful discussion on the subject - particularly talking about the power of suggestion and so on. But pleasently including some facts...

A 2008 study at Hofstra University played two different binaural beats and a control sound (a babbling brook) to patients with high blood pressure. There was no difference between the groups. In one small study from Japan that was published in the Journal of Neurophysiology in 2006, they played various binaural beats to nine subjects, and observed the resulting EEGs. They found great variability in the results. Their conclusion was that listening to binaural beats can produce activity on the human cerebral cortex, however the cause was more likely a conscious auditory reaction and was not correlated to the frequency of the binaural beat. However, a 2005 study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that they were able to induce a desired frequency in the EEG matching the phantom beat frequency encoded in a binaural beat, however this was with a single subject and was neither blinded nor controlled.

(The studies are linked in the original)

However I think the really important part is this:

in summary, binaural beats certainly do not work the way the sellers claim, but there's no reason to think they're any less effective than any other music track you might listen to that effects you in a way you like. If they make you sleepy (like they all do for me), use them to go to sleep. If they relax you or get you amped, use them for that. But don't expect them to be any more effective than regular music.

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