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TAGsync: Operation and Discussion

tagsync theta alpha gamma synchrony training neurofeedback operation discussion

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#1 OpaqueMind

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Posted 10 August 2014 - 10:04 PM


This thread is intended as a place where we can discuss both the operation and general theory of Theta-Alpha-Gamma synchrony neurofeedback training. Some topics of potential interest we could discuss are; particular electrode placements and their effects, optimal length of sessions and time between sessions, synergistic practices, supporting supplements, neuroscientific theory, neuropsychological 

theory, experience reports and so on...

 

To start, I will post a simple but thorough guide to its operation, courtesy of the user Closer (thanks dude :~ );

 

1. Attach the ground electrode to Cz, one reading electrode to Pz, another reading electrode of Fz and one reference electrode to each ear. 
2. Add your EEG as a BioExplorer device
3. Open the design 'TAGx2 MONx1 AUD - Quiet Reward.bxd'
4. In either the signal diagram window or from the Objects menu:
-Set Bandpass Filter (BF) 1 to 9Hz - 11Hz (Alpha)
-Set BF2 to 4Hz - 7Hz (Theta)

-Confirm Audio Player 1 is set to '_TAG Pink Noise.mp3'
-(optional) Change Tone Generator 1 Frequency to 250 if the tone is hard to hear
5. Commence the NFB session and:
-Set Threshold 1 display range to 0u to a maximum you can't exceed e.g. 40u
-Set Threshold 1 Manual Target 1 to a value that yeilds an 80% silence through time of the Tone Generator 1 noise (a dull beep)
-Set Threshold 1 Manual Taget 2 to 3x the value of Manual Taget 1
-Repeat the above three steps for Threshold 2
6. Set Thresholds 3-8 to encourage conformance with the 1/f rule as shown in figure 4 of 
this document. The values can be slightly higher than this 1/f bracket, but should follow the general distribution.
7. Repeat step 6 for Thresholds 9-14.
8. Adjust the volumes (Tools -> Volumes) to a comfortable level
9. Train for 20 minutes using one or more of the following inputs/suggestions, the 'right' combination is unclear at this time so experiment:

-If you can raise A/Tsync with eyes open do that. If not, train with eyes closed

-look away from the computer monitor as it may negatively affect brainwaves with respect to the training goals

-try various non-physical techniques to increase the silence of BioExplorer. Be sure not to tense facial muscles.

-Either create a state of passive awareness and be mindful of the training's goal, which is the silence of BioExplorer, or actively attempt ways of increasing the signal/time spent in silence.

10. Change BF2 to 38-42Hz (Gamma) and adjust Threshold Manual Targets 1 and 2 as per step 5.
11. Train for 5 minutes.
12. Move the electrode at Pz down about 7-8cm, to just beneath the ridge at the back of the head, and repeat steps 4 - 11.

 

Once you're reasonably well established in achieving TAGsync at those positions, alternate sessions between F3/P3, F4/P4 and the above mentioned locations. You can also explore other areas of the head. Frontal and pre-frontal symmetrical sites have had good effects for me and another guy so far. TAGsync can be applied scale and placement invariantly, and since it deals with universal activation patterns within the brain, there will be many as yet undiscovered locations where its usage could have boosting effects on specific aspects of mental functioning. To guide this application you might consider a browse of the relevant neuroscience literature. If you find any relevant studies, or stumble upon some placements with particularly interesting effects, it would be great if you could post them here for all to see.

 

I also highly recommend running infra-low frequency training sessions at interhemispheric placements as glial cell activity, which ILF is reflective of, plays a key role in the modulation of all cortical dynamics. I think of it as the foundation. You wouldn't start a building by building a roof. You could still do it this way, progressively elevating the roof somehow, but it'd take a whole lot longer, and since you're going to build the foundations anyway you might as well do that first to make it easier for yourself.


Edited by OpaqueMind, 10 August 2014 - 10:10 PM.

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#2 hza

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 04:42 PM

I just noticed this:  I thought when moving the rear electrode from Pz to just below Oz, you were also supposed to move Fz to FPz.  Have you ever tried that?  Bear in mind, if I'm mistaken it's because I read you wrong elsewhere--this was not an instruction I received from Dailey.  

 

Also, as I think I've mentioned elsewhere, I've read that synchrony training should be done with ear references linked.  Have you tried that?  I understand the theoretical difference between linked vs independent references, but when grounded to the mastoid area I wonder how much difference that really amounts to.



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#3 OpaqueMind

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 05:14 PM

When training the midline I've always kept the frontal electrode at Fz, as per DD's recommendations. I imagine that a lower placement like FPz would be a good addition if you can minimize the eye artifacts, which are really only a problem when training with eyes open. Next time I run a TAG session, I'm gonna try it out.

 

I literally just finished gathering the data for the TLC7 analysis, and I've been taking a little break from NFB in general while, to help assimilate and integrate the deep changes that I set in motion with these extensive sessions, as well as to allow my brain to find its balance so I could get a representative reading for the TLC7. I really think occasional breaks and continual integration work, such as deep meditation, engaging flow states, mindfulness practice, energy work etc are key to not only harnessing all the benefits of TAG (and quite possibly NFB in general, but more so here since there is such a large degree of interneuronal alterations occuring) but also to maintaining a modicum of stability during times of intensive training.

 

I also link references yeah, ever since I saw you mention it a while back. I'm not exactly sure what it does though, and I can't tell the difference otherwise.

 

Have you got any TAG sessions under your belt yet, or are you still on hiatus from nfb in general?


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#4 hza

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Posted 11 August 2014 - 08:38 PM

i have a handful of sessions under my belt, just not productive ones.  I declared my vacation in the wake of a series of aggravations that interfered with my time alone for nfb, and stuff keeps coming up.  Not to make a big deal out of it, but people keep going in and out of the hospital (not me, so there's that).  I think it should all settle down in a few days, but there's one wild card out there still, and I'd rather not jinx myself speculating on it.  

 

Cool to see you doing the TLC7--I see nothing but good coming from that.  Not to go too deep OT, but did you get the e-cap?

 

As for linking refs, from what I understand the signal from both is averaged and added back into the loop with the individual source electrode.  It really sounds to me like a ground of some sort, except there's the other ground to take into account--I'm guessing the "ground" electrode deals with static and line noise, whereas the references are more of an actual cathode/anode sort of electrical ground.  But that's just a guess. I have no idea how linking or not would affect synchrony training.

 

FPz shouldn't give too much artifact as long as you can keep the facial muscles still.  In an EO approach of course you'd be best serve ignoring the screen for the duration.  Again, as I heard elsewhere apparently some meditation traditions hold that keeping eyes open in soft focus is actually helpful in reducing mental chatter, so I could see how that would translate into better A/T levels if you stay with it long enough.



#5 umop 3pisdn

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 04:57 AM

Kudos to you guys for working out a set of instructions like that, I got some brief explanations from Mr. Dailey, but I mostly just used trial and error, which lead to some headaches both in terms of how to conduct training, and during the process of training, that could have been avoided. Reading that I just realized I've set some of my thresholds to a way harder level than I maybe should have :p

 

OpaqueMind, what kind of Interhemispheric ILF training do you do (T3 and T4, another montage, or more than one montage, training duration, etc)? I still haven't gotten around to getting a device that can train in the ILF range, partly because I've relaxed on training lately and have mostly just been meditating instead. I'm going to get back into it eventually, and I plan on getting into that as well as the TLC7 stuff, but I'm not really sure how to frame ILF training in my understanding. Most of the literature mentions temporal placements (or one sensor at a temporal site and another elsewhere), yet on a purely superficial level of 'it agrees with what I'm already doing' it seems like if you were training to support TAGsync you'd train in a 'frontoparietal' way as well, yet I never see that mentioned anywhere with this modality. What do you have success with? I'm sort of trying to figure out how much time to devote to each modality, to keep things as simple as possible with the added complexity of other modalities.

 

edit:

 

Also as a personal observation, lately I've been thinking about how to reintroduce TAGsync into my set of tools. I used to just do it alongside anapanasati, but eventually I found that there were more specific internal feedback mechanisms that correlated to me increasing energetic-alertness, or going into access concentration, etc, so I stopped using it for that purpose (after first using it to find those internal feedback mechanisms). But none of those things are really 'advanced' and seem pretty beginnerish as far as meditation is concerned, and I'd think that such a modality should have more potential than that. Lately I've been thinking about how to get the most benefit from TAGsync on its own, now that I've decoupled it from my regular meditation practice for good, because I don't think I ever really used it to its full potential before, so now I'm wondering if TAGsync is maybe most beneficial for objectless-awareness? Like more of a dry Vipassana approach where you watch shifts in your awareness and stuff, with no particularly fixed 'anchoring' point (something I'd struggle to do ordinarily to say the least)? Dailey did mention 'emptiness' meditation being most suited to TAGsync. I guess this is something I'll have to try to figure out at some point.


Edited by umop 3pisdn, 12 August 2014 - 05:31 AM.


#6 Invariant

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:11 AM

I'm very interested in hearing from folks with TAG-sync experience: what benefits have you noticed? Any negatives? In your opinion, is it worth the time and money?

 

Another thing I'm curious about is to what degree you're able to see progress. Is it completely unambiguous that you are getting better at producing a certain signal? Or will it continue to be noisy, hit-and-miss? Good days and bad days?

 

Finally, do any of you know if there is a way to get the raw signals into some kind of programming environment (in real-time) so that one could experiment with new signal processing techniques?



#7 umop 3pisdn

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:28 AM

I'm very interested in hearing from folks with TAG-sync experience: what benefits have you noticed? Any negatives? In your opinion, is it worth the time and money?

 

Another thing I'm curious about is to what degree you're able to see progress. Is it completely unambiguous that you are getting better at producing a certain signal? Or will it continue to be noisy, hit-and-miss? Good days and bad days?

 

Finally, do any of you know if there is a way to get the raw signals into some kind of programming environment (in real-time) so that one could experiment with new signal processing techniques?

 

I find the value propositions hard to get into. I've been resolving my depression, anxiety, and social avoidance issues through a combination of TAGsync and meditation. Eventually meditation supplanted TAGsync, but TAGsync was how I learned meditation :p The effects have been really amazing though, more or less an emotional renaissance for me, but I still have to keep up a daily effort with whatever mode of training (anapanasati, or TAGsync) or I backslide somewhat.

 

You have good days and bad days as far as training goes, but I find progress is measured internally. You do gain the ability to more successfully produce positive feedback, but personally that's not really how I measure anything. Neurofeedback mostly gives you 'handrails' to guide your effort, but I've also been thinking that I've maybe not figured out the best approach to using this modality, so maybe take what I've said with a grain of salt as well.


Edited by umop 3pisdn, 12 August 2014 - 05:30 AM.

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#8 umop 3pisdn

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 08:34 AM

I've decided when I get back into TAGsync I'm going to do it alongside the Mahamudra style of meditation, or something like it (when you take 'the mind' as your object of meditation). The only time I ever got really strong jhana factors was when I was doing TAGsync once and my mind naturally slipped into a kind of feedback loop where I was aware of the quality/strength of my awareness, so I could actually catch myself becoming distracted in real time. However I had trouble repeating the experience so I gave up. But it's interesting because I stumbled onto that just while fooling around with TAGsync in and of itself, so I think that sort of internal cultivation technique might be most suited to the kind of feedback you're given with TAGsync.



#9 Crowstream

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 12:58 PM

I'm very interested in hearing from folks with TAG-sync experience: what benefits have you noticed? Any negatives? In your opinion, is it worth the time and money?

 

Another thing I'm curious about is to what degree you're able to see progress. Is it completely unambiguous that you are getting better at producing a certain signal? Or will it continue to be noisy, hit-and-miss? Good days and bad days?

 

Finally, do any of you know if there is a way to get the raw signals into some kind of programming environment (in real-time) so that one could experiment with new signal processing techniques?

 

I have completed about 40 sessions of TAG Sync now, I wil l try to give you a short review of my experience so far.

 

In short I would say that for me TAG Sync has been very powerful and I feel like it has triggered changes at a deep level. Its hard to get in to in detail since the experience itself is non-verbal and intuitive.

The two closest experiences that I can approximate it to is HRV training and meditation, I always feel a strong heart-brain connection when doing TAG Sync like I do in HRV training and I think that generating heart-felt positive emotion is measurable by TAG Sync, as in part it drives the theta-alpha synchrony. For more on this I recommend this article (http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/15649551), in the study they measure EEG and HRV of meditators and also correlate this data to personality tests. Interestingly they find correlations of the HRV power spectrum and the theta and alpha rhythms in the brain and also correlations to personality traits, the heart seems to be involved in driving activity in the brain. I dont want to get too deep into that but suffice to say there is a strong theoretical connection here and it is also something I have experienced very powerfully in training.

Thats why I believe TAG Sync can be a powerful tool for meditation.

 

A strange effect that I have experienced during TAG Sync training is some kind of effect on the memory system, during training I will usually enter deep meditative states, my theta will go stronger as I sink further towards the "twilight state", which sort of feels like the betweenness of wakefulness and dreaming, although I will usually not reach this completely. In these states I have spontaneosly remembered old dreams that I dreamt years ago and that I had totally forgot about in my normal waking state. In these states I have also remembered old forgotten memories from different times in my life, this would be quite strong intuitive experiences that I would feel quite intensely and I would get a sense of the totality of my being at that time which would be accompanied by a sort of sense of understanding and acceptance. My experience of this is that it would have some sort of deep integrative effect on my consciousness, followed by an expansion and increased flexibility of mind.

 

I have also noticed physical effects in my body, I used to carry tension in my neck and shoulder and I would be in pain because of this and sometimes also had bad posture. I feel much more integrated and aware of my body now and I have not felt any tension for a long time, I feel like I am more in tune with my bodys rhythms and the energy flow. My posture has also improved. These effects may in part be due to my ILF (infra-low frequency) training as I have felt the most dramatic shifts in this following those sessions, in my experience they have been more physically oriented than the other training. I have not done a lot of ILF training though so I think in most part it is the TAG Sync training although it is impossible to really differentiate of course.

 

Another quite noticeable effect I have experienced is in my attention and awareness. I have always been been more of a thinking person and I can easily get completely lost in thought and loose awareness of my surrounding, this is also part of an extreme introvertness. I feel like TAG Sync has helped balance thinking/feeling and internal/external awareness and attention. During training I will feel an increased internal and external awareness both at the same time, I will be very much in tune with my bodily rhythms and the energetic patterns, I will tune in to the communication that occurs at very subtle energetic levels in my body but at the same time feel a strong external awareness and attention of the surrounding space, the external awareness feels almost extra-sensory. I noticed walking home one day that I was experiencing an extremely heightened sense of awareness, it was like I could feel my surrounding space. I spontaneously remembered watching some youtube clip about ninja training and how they cultivate the skill of dodging sudden attacks that come from behind by sensing their surrounding space, this was exactly like that and I thought I would easily pass this ninja training if I tried at that moment :laugh: .

 

These awareness levels ebbs and flows, it will be very strong and noticeable some days, but I also feel there is a general heightened level of awareness at all times.

 

As for negative experiences, I have had some, but I feel in the grand scheme of things these were also necessary parts of my development. I woke up one day after a long bout of high-volume TAG Sync training with an extreme pain in my shoulder/back, it was in the usual place of tension but more extreme and focal, there was no physical reason for this as I had slept well and I had not strained myself the day before. I did some TAG Sync training and this triggered some kind of change in my consciousness. I was transported back to a state of consciousness that I had experienced a few months before (before TAG Sync training), it was a mental break down of sorts that I had after a long bout of depression. At the time this had happened to me two times before, I can only describe it as a journey through hell, I could only lie down in complete annihilation, crying uncontrollably while listening to some music. It was a mystical experience of sorts as my awareness was opened to vast realms of dissonance and my suffering was accompanied by a sense of insight and rapid transformation. It was like reaching some kind of breaking point and falling down into a state of total chaotic flux where my consciouness was re-molded. Like following vapor trails and dissapearing tracks.

This third experience of this kind was somewhat different though from the first two, it did not have the emotional tone of complete devastation but instead it felt manageable, I felt like I could handle it. From the Nietszchean sense of amor fati (the love of fate) I could even choose to accept this as part of my fate at that time instead of rejecting it due to its strong emotional tone. I feel like this also had some kind of integrative and transformative effect on my consciousness. It was after this experience that I stopped experiencing tension in my body, I think this is because the body stores collected trauma and this may be released in experiences such as these. I hope that does not sound too crazy, it is the best way I can think of to express this in ordinary language.

So I think you do need to be careful when using TAG Sync, if you push yourself too much with it then I think you can trigger experiences such as these.

 

Another thing you should consider before buying TAG Sync is that the customer support is quite bad, Douglas Dailey seems to be a nice guy and a very advanced individual however he does not reply to emails sometimes and his answers usually tend to be very abstract theoretical and not very practical, which can make running TAG Sync difficult. I had to figure out how to run TAG Sync on my own, and then I found other people who were using it that could help me further. If you are reading this however you know about this thread :) so you can just ask questions here instead.

 

I bought both TAGx2 and 1 but I am not sure I would recommend anyone else do this, TAGx2 seems to be much more powerful for the TAG Sync training. The TAGx1 is advertised as being usable for ILF-training, it is however not an ideal protocol to run ILF I think, there seems to be fundamental limitations in bioexplorer at this time. You can only set the filters to the lowest level of 0.1hz as far as I know from my experimentation, for ILF training you may want to train at levels like 0.01hz or even lower so this is not ideal. Douglas Dailey told me that the developers of bioexplorer are working on this so maybe there will be an update to fix this. If there is then I think you might as well modify TAGx2 to do ILF training instead of using a 1 channel design. The main developers of ILF training, the Othmers write in their protocol guides that 2-channel ILF training is much more effective than 1-channel training. Modifying TAGx2 for this is not too hard (I managed to do it with a little tinkering), but it does require some knowledge so maybe using TAGx1 is easier to use for ILF as there are fewer modifications that are necessary.

 

You should also be aware that ILF training requires silver/silver chloride electrodes for optimal use so it will be a bit more expensive to do this.

 

As for your question about ambiguity of the training Novotropic I would say that for me, it is not ambiguous at, the effects are very noticeable and you can see them represented visually on the screen quite clearly. I do think you get better at producing these signals, and there are good and bad days but for the most part it has been consistent for me.

 

I know that there is a server function in bioexplorer, you can send any signal you want in the program out of this, as for the technical details about that I am not sure however :). You can probably find it in the manual.


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#10 Candidatus

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 01:33 PM

Fascinating thread! Just one quick question, how much do you guys train with TAG? (Days a week/minutes a day?) And do you think it´s advisable to train with HEG simultaneously?



#11 Crowstream

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 01:59 PM

Fascinating thread! Just one quick question, how much do you guys train with TAG? (Days a week/minutes a day?) And do you think it´s advisable to train with HEG simultaneously?

 

The advice is to train for about 30 minutes or so per day, and no more than 5 minutes of using gamma feedback as more could trigger excessive beta activity. I find this is true, if I train longer it can trigger episodes of high beta activity, so something is definitively going on there. You should also be careful about using the thresholds on the auto threshold setting as this can also trigger beta activity.

 

Before I knew about this I didnt think the beta activity was bad so I just went ahead and trained anyway for sometimes 2 hour sessions using auto-thresholds. What happened is I passed through cycles of extreme activity at most frequency levels and I would have spiritual and ecstatic experiences. I think my brain may have become over-excited from all of the feedback that it was receiving when I was doing this. I didnt think this was dangerous, quite the opposite I felt as if I was meeting the goals of the training.

 

I later found out that auto-thresholds may cause seizures, apparently this happened to a woman that DD was training. Whether or not it was really caused by using auto-thresholds I dont really know but because of this it might be a good idea to be careful about that as it can be quite powerful.

 

I stopped using auto-threshold but I have kept doing long sessions and I stopped getting beta activity so I think I got used to training at this volume level. I am sure you can definitively get strong effects in just 20-30 minutes, its probably enough for most people, but if you want to push yourself then you can do that also.

 

I tried doing HEG and TAG Sync on the same day but I stopped doing the HEG after a while, I felt like the effects of TAG Sync were desirable for me and I did not want to push my brain even more than I was already doing.

 

Maybe you can do it consistently as it works different systems in the brain, it would require a lot of will power and effort though I think as this kind of training can be very mentally challenging.


Edited by Crowstream, 12 August 2014 - 02:00 PM.

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#12 OpaqueMind

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 04:07 PM

Well this thread got off to a flying start  :-D

 

Hza - I'm sorry to hear about your familial mishaps, I hope they stop soon. I didn't get the cap no, it was too damn expensive to justify the cost. Did the TLC7 fine though, just took a bit longer than it might have otherwise, assuming I didn't get a corrupted reading at least.

 

Umop - Setting the thresholds at around the 80/20 ratio of silence to noise definitely makes a significant difference for myself, as opposed to, say, 50/50. Using the feedback as a notice that you're getting off track rather than as a 'punishment' to achieve better synchrony is a good way to approach it. Often I experience a jump in the frequency of phase resets when I do this. And since phase resets are significant indicators of progression, we want to encourage them as much as possible. In his discussion of TAGsync, DD mentions that one of the aims of TAGsync training is increased prefrontal phase resets. I recommend you all read this fascinating paper titled 'network resets in the medial prefrontal cortex mark the onset of behavioral instability'. This is a paper that DD linked me, and I believe it highly relevant to the training effect of TAG. The gist of the paper is that network resets (which appear on the EEG as phase resets) in the mPFC correlate with the letting go of a prior held belief in favour of exploratory behavior and the environmentally/perceptually oriented updating of beliefs. Phase resets mark the progressive increase of the brain's ability to self-organise into a state of increasingly optimal criticality. This is the very basis of learning and brain re-organisation. This causes the mind to become less rigid/more flexible and more attuned to experience. If you go back and look at the other neurofeedback threads you will see that this is one of the first things several people reported with TAG training. That DD sent me this paper in response to my asking about the significant of phase resets in TAG is indicative that this mechanism plays a key role in the effects of the training. 

 

My training in ILF has consisted in interhemispherically symmetrical placements, covering the entire head at the typically mapped eeg sites, with particular attention to T3/T4 and the frontal sites. I train for 20 minutes each pair of sites, and usually do 4 pairs per session. Doing this I have in the past often run a schedule like this; TAG (Default mode network), ILF (Anterior sites), TAG (Task positive network), ILF (Posterior sites), with each being a day's session. The effects of ILF occur fairly quickly, and the ceiling is lower than TAGs, so you can get almost the full capabilities ILF offers within 20 sessions.

 

Regards getting the most from TAGsync, DD recommends a focus on phase resets and the importance of training the task-positive networks ie F3/P3 and F4/P4. It is also good to note that we aren't limited to these electrode placements, because the TAGsync signal is a universal brain phenomenon, and the training can therefore be applied scale and placement invariantly. Recently I have been experimenting with Fp1/Fp2 and F3/F4 to good effect. The latter is supposed to be good for leadership skills and for readily switching between approach and avoidance behavior. We can intelligently expand our repertoire with a collective investigation of the available literature. DD sent me a significant paper in this regard describing the relationship between phase synchronization, certain neural systems and memory processes. I also recommend a read of this paper if you are interested in the guided application of TAG to boost short-term and/or long-term memory processes. I have a fairly poor short term memory, and from this paper I gleaned that theta and gamma synchronization (theta alone, then theta+gamma) between the prefontal cortex and the hippocampal areas is indicated in short term memory processes, so I just ran a session targeting those areas. Which reminds me, DD sent me a potentially very useful 3D map of the brain areas involved in intelligence, which I just uploaded here. This will be very useful for helping guide the optimal use of TAG training in the aim of intelligence enhancement. Perhaps some of you could download it and we could brainstorm on some interesting possible placements? It seems that due to the density of the connections in the central regions, training interhemispherically from front to back, for example F4 /P3, might be a worthwhile option.

 

TAG training is most certainly very powerful for objectless awareness. I recently found an amazing little book which describes how to direct your senses to tune in to that inner silence within the heart space. It is nothing short of profound. With these techniques, which are easy to do, I found myself in a deeper state than I ever had before, and can now almost tune to it at will. This is the emptiness of pure dis-identification, and it synergises immensely with TAG. If anyone here uses TAG with spirituality in mind, these techniques will quite possibly blow your mind.


Edited by OpaqueMind, 12 August 2014 - 04:10 PM.

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#13 Crowstream

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 06:04 PM

The use of TAG Sync for intelligence enhancement seems very promising, I read the article that DD based that brain map on and it mainly indicates the right parietal lobe as critically important for intelligence (at least as measured by ravens advanced progressive matrices like they used in that study). A more exciting finding for me however is that the small-world network properties seem to be the deciding factor in information propagation efficiency in the brain, so that principle can be applied anywhere in the brain to increase neural efficiency which will boost any function. The main components of the small-world network properties for this seem to be: 1)  clustering 2) path length - where an increased clustering of connections in the brain leads to more efficient local information processing (basicly by forming local hubs). The path length describes the length of the connection between these clustered hubs, where a shorter path means a more optimal connection. The combination of these two creates optimal information flow through the networks, this is basicly as DD says "networks within networks". I like to think of this as very similar to the internet which also has clusters of hubs at different levels like websites or search engines.

 

I think TAG Sync training increases the small-world-ness in the brain although I am unsure of the exact mechanism, maybe it effects clustering, path length, or both. I want to ask DD about this but I still have not had my skype session with him (we are supposed to have it now but so far he has not showed up :laugh: )

 

Another interesting article about intelligence that I found shows a clear connection between intelligence and phase resets, more precisely the two components of phase reset: phase shift and phase lock, need to be in the optimal ranges (http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/18620065). The phase reset seems to be a mechanism for the change of activity in neurons, for example for neurons to form a larger unit of neurons, in order to perform a neural computation they need to first phase shift which means changing the timing in their firing patterns and then phase lock at a particular firing frequency, forming a unit of neurons each phase locked with the same firing pattern. That seems to be the way that activity in different areas of the brain can be coordinated.  After the phase lock period is completed the neurons cycle to phase shift again and become part of different units to perform a new neural computation. The optimal cycling of this activity seems to lead to increased intelligence. In general it seems that an increased phase shift duration leads to increased intelligence, this is because a longer phase shift duration means more neurons have time to be recruited to perform whatever task the brain needs at that time, but the timing seems to become optimized within a certain range. The phase lock period however needs to be short, as a longer period of phase locking leads to inflexibility.

 

This is what the study says:

"Results: Phase shift duration (40–90 ms) was positively related to intelligence (P<.00001) and the phase lock

duration (100–800 ms) was negatively related to intelligence (P<.00001). Phase reset in short interelectrode
distances (6 cm) was more highly correlated to I.Q. (P<.0001) than in long distances (N12 cm).
Conclusions: The duration of unstable phase dynamics and phase locking represent a bounded optimization
process, for example, too long a duration of phase locking then less flexibility and too short of a phase shift
then reduced neural resources. A two compartmental model of local field coupling and neuron synchrony to
a preferred phase was developed to explain the findings."
 
One of the goals of TAG Sync I think is increased phase resets, which might mean a more efficient brain in general.
 
"PR occurs in coupled nonlinear oscillators when there is a

sudden shift of the phase relationship of oscillators to a new
value followed by a period of phase locking or phase stability
also called phase synchrony (Pikovsky et al., 2003). The term
phase synchrony is synonymous with phase locking and
whether one refers to phase locking or phase synchrony what
is important is the fact that there is a prolonged period of
phase stability following a phase shift. This is important
because random phase shifts without stability exhibit “white
noise” distributions (Pikovsky et al., 2003; Tass, 1997). PR is
also important because it results in increased EEG amplitudes
due to increased phase synchrony of synaptic generators
(Cooper et al., 1965; Nunez, 1995; Lopes da Silva, 1995)."

 

I think this is interesting because we can see increased EEG amplitudes very easily in our training, meaning you should be able to monitor the phase synchrony dynamics and thereby also measuring the efficiency of the brain networks.

 

 

"As explained in the Introduction, PR is comprised of a phase
shift followed by phase locking and is considered to be an
important mechanism in EEG synchronization and desyn-
chronization. Phase shift duration is a period of high
uncertainty and instability, whereas, phase locking is a period
of stability and low uncertainty (Freeman et al., 2003;
Thatcher et al., in press). Analyses of the development of
phase shift duration and phase locking characterized the
phase shift process in terms of the theory of “self-organized
criticality” in which phase shift (i.e., 40–80 ms) approaches
“chaos” followed by phase locking or “stability” (100 ms to
approximately 800 ms) (Thatcher et al., in press)."

 

 

This is interesting because DD told me that the most adaptive self-organized criticality occurs at a small peak fulcrum between control and undercontrol, I think maybe he might have been refering to this. One of the goals of TAG Sync is to make the network organize at a more adaptive SOC so I think it is not a far stretch to also imagine that this would increase intelligence also.

 

There are many other interesting things about intelligence in this article, maybe we can use this information somehow to optimize our neurofeedback.

 

I also considering doing the TLC7 to get some statistics on my brain in order to measure long-term changes of training and also to use their training package to balance out my brain. One of the proposed goals of TAG Sync is reduced Z-scores, I guess that is in qEEG but maybe it applies to the TLC7 data also?

 

If any of you guys using TLC7 could enlighten me on this I would be very happy :).

 

 



#14 umop 3pisdn

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 10:52 PM

Well this thread got off to a flying start  :-D

 

Hza - I'm sorry to hear about your familial mishaps, I hope they stop soon. I didn't get the cap no, it was too damn expensive to justify the cost. Did the TLC7 fine though, just took a bit longer than it might have otherwise, assuming I didn't get a corrupted reading at least.

 

Umop - Setting the thresholds at around the 80/20 ratio of silence to noise definitely makes a significant difference for myself, as opposed to, say, 50/50. Using the feedback as a notice that you're getting off track rather than as a 'punishment' to achieve better synchrony is a good way to approach it. Often I experience a jump in the frequency of phase resets when I do this. And since phase resets are significant indicators of progression, we want to encourage them as much as possible. In his discussion of TAGsync, DD mentions that one of the aims of TAGsync training is increased prefrontal phase resets. I recommend you all read this fascinating paper titled 'network resets in the medial prefrontal cortex mark the onset of behavioral instability'. This is a paper that DD linked me, and I believe it highly relevant to the training effect of TAG. The gist of the paper is that network resets (which appear on the EEG as phase resets) in the mPFC correlate with the letting go of a prior held belief in favour of exploratory behavior and the environmentally/perceptually oriented updating of beliefs. Phase resets mark the progressive increase of the brain's ability to self-organise into a state of increasingly optimal criticality. This is the very basis of learning and brain re-organisation. This causes the mind to become less rigid/more flexible and more attuned to experience. If you go back and look at the other neurofeedback threads you will see that this is one of the first things several people reported with TAG training. That DD sent me this paper in response to my asking about the significant of phase resets in TAG is indicative that this mechanism plays a key role in the effects of the training. 

 

My training in ILF has consisted in interhemispherically symmetrical placements, covering the entire head at the typically mapped eeg sites, with particular attention to T3/T4 and the frontal sites. I train for 20 minutes each pair of sites, and usually do 4 pairs per session. Doing this I have in the past often run a schedule like this; TAG (Default mode network), ILF (Anterior sites), TAG (Task positive network), ILF (Posterior sites), with each being a day's session. The effects of ILF occur fairly quickly, and the ceiling is lower than TAGs, so you can get almost the full capabilities ILF offers within 20 sessions.

 

Regards getting the most from TAGsync, DD recommends a focus on phase resets and the importance of training the task-positive networks ie F3/P3 and F4/P4. It is also good to note that we aren't limited to these electrode placements, because the TAGsync signal is a universal brain phenomenon, and the training can therefore be applied scale and placement invariantly. Recently I have been experimenting with Fp1/Fp2 and F3/F4 to good effect. The latter is supposed to be good for leadership skills and for readily switching between approach and avoidance behavior. We can intelligently expand our repertoire with a collective investigation of the available literature. DD sent me a significant paper in this regard describing the relationship between phase synchronization, certain neural systems and memory processes. I also recommend a read of this paper if you are interested in the guided application of TAG to boost short-term and/or long-term memory processes. I have a fairly poor short term memory, and from this paper I gleaned that theta and gamma synchronization (theta alone, then theta+gamma) between the prefontal cortex and the hippocampal areas is indicated in short term memory processes, so I just ran a session targeting those areas. Which reminds me, DD sent me a potentially very useful 3D map of the brain areas involved in intelligence, which I just uploaded here. This will be very useful for helping guide the optimal use of TAG training in the aim of intelligence enhancement. Perhaps some of you could download it and we could brainstorm on some interesting possible placements? It seems that due to the density of the connections in the central regions, training interhemispherically from front to back, for example F4 /P3, might be a worthwhile option.

 

TAG training is most certainly very powerful for objectless awareness. I recently found an amazing little book which describes how to direct your senses to tune in to that inner silence within the heart space. It is nothing short of profound. With these techniques, which are easy to do, I found myself in a deeper state than I ever had before, and can now almost tune to it at will. This is the emptiness of pure dis-identification, and it synergises immensely with TAG. If anyone here uses TAG with spirituality in mind, these techniques will quite possibly blow your mind.

 

Thanks, man. That's somewhat encouraging, sometimes it's easy to get overambitious and plan to do things like extensive meditation practice, TAGsync, ILF and TLC7, Deep Diaphragmatic Breathing and HRV training, postural retraining, etc, alongside a full course load and stuff :p After a while it all becomes a bit ridiculous.

 

What are the techniques like in that book? I was thinking of eventually extending my interests into practices that are a bit more 'shamanic', like Dream Yoga, which seems like it could extend naturally from focusing on the luminous and empty characteristics of the mind like a lot of 'objectless' practices. The way that's described there's probably a lot of cross over with things like Mahamudra and Dzogchen. I find the way I usually learn best is by jumping in and not over thinking things too much, which also usually means only using one meditation guide at a time for a given technique. I fail a lot this way and it plagues my tendency for self doubt, but the alternative in my case seems to be endlessly thinking about things as opposed to actually doing them :p

 

One thing I've found in regards to my practice is I keep consistently hitting the third vipassana-nana (the three characteristics). Noticing all that tension in my neck, seemingly causeless dismay and emotional agitation after a few days of solid meditation practice finally makes sense to me, and doesn't throw me completely off and cause me to reset my progress. So I guess even using this modality in a less-optimal way, just charting out a way of balance mental qualities to gain some degree of progress in anapanasati has still been really beneficial for me. I'm sure that's something gifted or people with a more intuitive grasp of meditation could figure out on their own, or anyone with a meditation teacher, but for me it's pretty significant.
 


Edited by umop 3pisdn, 12 August 2014 - 10:58 PM.


#15 Closer

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 12:59 PM

So I guess some people (not Crowstream!) are using TAGX1 + BioExplorer for ILF. What ranges do you set in BioExplorer, 0.1Hz - 0.5Hz?


Edited by Closer, 15 August 2014 - 12:59 PM.


#16 hza

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 05:36 PM

The picture that's emerging for me is that bipolar training, using SMR and ILF, or either, or both, is an important part of improving the function of the various hubs of the brain's networks.  TAG x1 appears to help the paired sites function better independently, and then TAG x2 improves the communication pathways between and among the sites.  I couldn't even get DD to discuss TAG x1 with me, but reading over his protocol guide for the second time now it really seems like a crucial part of the overall training plan, at least in the preliminary phase.



#17 arvcondor

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Posted 15 August 2014 - 07:07 PM

Is there a way to do this would shelling out $1900? :(



#18 hza

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 03:23 PM

Sadly, not at this time.  Considering where the state of EEG units suitable for home use and their cost just 10 years ago, we're extremely lucky to be able to get TAG training for less than $2000.  Extremely lucky.  Good lord, just the possibility presented by this technology is astonishing enough.  I know all too well what it's like to be priced out of new exciting stuff like this, but the good news is that tech is going up and price is coming down at an exponential rate.  Maybe it won't be long before this sort of thing is available at a price point that the people who really need it can afford.

 

That said, there are a handful of clinicians trained to do TAG sessions, one of which would run about $100 or so on average, but chances are you're not in a geographical location that would make that a feasible option.  Check growing.com for links and resources, and maybe you'll find something.

 

 

Is there a way to do this would shelling out $1900? :(

 



#19 Closer

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Posted 16 August 2014 - 10:26 PM

Would anyone be kind enough to help me understand basic ILF configuration and operation using a TAGX1 design in BioExplorer? It's incomplete and probably incorrect, but for the purposes of having something to talk about:

-Put ground electrode wherever
-Put 1+ and 1- at an inter-hemispheric location e.g T4/T3.
-In BE open a TAGX1 design e.g. 'TAGx1 MONx1 AUD - Quiet Reward.bxd'
-Set Threshold 2 manual target 1 and 2 to zero
-Set BF2 (Rew1) to a range of ??? Hz
-Set inhibits as per TAGX2 ???
-Set Threshold 1 manual target 1 to a value that yields 80% reward (e.g. silence) while training
-Set Threshold 1 manual target 2 to ??? (does it matter?)
-Move electrodes to other inter-hemispheric locations (e.g. ???, are some locations supposed to be better than others?) every ??? minutes
-Train for approximately ??? minutes

 

Cheers :)



#20 hza

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 02:12 AM

If you got the TAG x1 and x2 bundle, you should have gotten a free copy of his Bipolar Protocol Guide.  But if he forgot to send you the link, that happens (happened to me), and you should email him for your copy.  It will help answer some of your questions, although it doesn't explicitly address the TAG x1 design with dual rewards.  I think you can work TAG x1 with a single set of rewards by setting one set of thresholds to zero, but if you have a single-channel SMR design from anywhere else that would probably be easier, or you can just work two sets of rewards and inhibits like 1 channel of ILF and 1 channel SMR, or Alpha/Theta, or I guess theoretically whatever.  But the ILF protocol guide is essential reading imo if you want to do bipolar training.

 

I was thinking the other day that it might be a good idea to put together a comprehensive list of site pairs for training, or for exploratory training from those of us on this list.  You know, like "here's what happened when I ran TAG x2 on P4/FP1" or whatever combination we can come up with.  But as a starting point it might be helpful to have a list of basic resting state network hubs for initial training.  For instance I think probably anybody should start training the center locations first, then probably move to paired sites like T3/T4, F7/F8, etc, and then who knows?  Maybe it doesn't make so much difference.


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#21 Crowstream

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 09:32 AM

Great initiative Closer :) I wrote some comments in colour.

 

Would anyone be kind enough to help me understand basic ILF configuration and operation using a TAGX1 design in BioExplorer? It's incomplete and probably incorrect, but for the purposes of having something to talk about:

-Put ground electrode wherever
-Put 1+ and 1- at an inter-hemispheric location e.g T4/T3.

I usually get confused about this and put 1+ on T3 out of habit. I think it probably does make a difference where the + and - go, since T4-T3 might be different from T3-T4. I need to experiment more with this to tell what the difference might be. In the protocol guide Douglas usually writes T3-T4.
-In BE open a TAGX1 design e.g. 'TAGx1 MONx1 AUD - Quiet Reward.bxd'
-Set Threshold 2 manual target 1 and 2 to zero

You can also do cross-frequency coupling when training ILF, so you can use this threshold as an active reward if you want to. Maybe it is best to start with just using 1 reward though to get a sense of that alone at first.
-Set BF2 (Rew1) to a range of ??? Hz

0.01-0.2Hz is one that Douglas showed me, I think it might be the lowest you can go at this time with Bioexplorer. I think using this frequency though was just an example, the idea behind the ILF training I think is to find the best reward frequency for you personally by trial and error. I think the general definition of the ILF range is signals below 0.5 Hz so you can move around in this range. Douglas also mentioned that you can change the type of filter, although I did not fully comprehend why or how.
-Set inhibits as per TAGX2 ???

I am not sure about this, but I think that the signal that you get in the inhibits in TAGx1 is different from TAGx2 because of the two active electrodes, I am not sure if this makes any difference. Maybe we can observe the inhibits and see if they work differently from TAGx2.
-Set Threshold 1 manual target 1 to a value that yields 80% reward (e.g. silence) while training
-Set Threshold 1 manual target 2 to ??? (does it matter?)

I think it does matter since it provides some information to the brain about the ILF signal, I usually set it to go off about 10-20% of the time. Maybe you dont have to use it if you want a more quiet session.
-Move electrodes to other inter-hemispheric locations (e.g. ???, are some locations supposed to be better than others?) every ??? minutes

The protocol guide has some extensive information about this, I think where you should train is highly personal so you have to figure this out based on your strengths and weaknesses as well as the response your brain has to the training.
-Train for approximately ??? minutes

 

Cheers :)

 


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#22 hatschiman

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Posted 17 August 2014 - 12:01 PM

Is there a way to do this would shelling out $1900? :(

 

There is a way, but it needs some time and diy!

 

Olimex OpenEEG:    100€ (2 Channel Bipolar should match neurofeedback purposes, i hope)

Electrodes                ~50€ (selfmade saline electrodes oder those from olimex

TAG Protocoll           $190 (~141€)

Bioexplorer               $425  (~318€)

 

Should be total: ~610€ without shipping. Ironically, the software is the most expensive point on this list (any alternatives? could one use the TAGSync with a less expensive software?)

 

Maybe someone has experience using the OpenEEG and could give a comment about its usability as i am considering to buy one. This would be the lowest priced version of an EEG for neurofeedback purposes, which is not just a simple toy like NeuroSky or EMOTIV.


Edited by hatschiman, 17 August 2014 - 12:07 PM.

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#23 Closer

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 06:10 AM

Thanks Crowstream. Regarding the cross-frequency coupling comment, I presume the definition of the term is the sampling / training of two frequency ranges concurrently? While using the TAGX1 designs, what frequency might one sample for Rew2? Have you personally noticed any life improvements that could be attributed to ILF?



#24 Crowstream

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 08:07 AM

Thanks Crowstream. Regarding the cross-frequency coupling comment, I presume the definition of the term is the sampling / training of two frequency ranges concurrently? While using the TAGX1 designs, what frequency might one sample for Rew2? Have you personally noticed any life improvements that could be attributed to ILF?

 

I have tried many frequencies for the reward 2, Douglas sent me a lot of articles about delta and how that is involved in attention, decisionmaking, and I think most importantly neuronal repair. So I tried using it together with an ILF frequency and I had very good results. It was very relaxing, and I feel as though it dissolved a lot of tension that was stored at a very deep unconscious level. So far that has been my favorite setup for TAGx1, it is: 0.01-0.5hz for reward 1 and 1-3 hz for reward 2.


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#25 tolerant

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 02:43 PM

Can neurofeedback or TAG in particular relieve severe treatment-resistant depression and anxiety?



#26 Crowstream

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 03:17 PM

Can neurofeedback or TAG in particular relieve severe treatment-resistant depression and anxiety?

 

Yes, I think it has for me. TAG is probably more effective for this than other forms of neurofeedback, which may still work of course.



#27 tolerant

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 03:59 PM

 

Can neurofeedback or TAG in particular relieve severe treatment-resistant depression and anxiety?

 

Yes, I think it has for me. TAG is probably more effective for this than other forms of neurofeedback, which may still work of course.

 

 

This is truly remarkable then. Before I decide to get into neurofeedback, do you think it's worth to listening to some binaural beats. Will that give me an indication whether neurofeedback may work for me? If so, which binaural or other entrainment beats should I choose. I have severe MDD, but the symptoms I experience resemble anxiety much more than depression. I am constantly thinking in circles which is wearing me out. It's not even ruminations - after all, a healthy person can ruminate about a particular issue - but semi-conscious and sometimes conscious intrusive thoughts that I know I would not have at all if I was healthy. 



#28 Crowstream

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Posted 20 August 2014 - 04:36 PM

 

 

Can neurofeedback or TAG in particular relieve severe treatment-resistant depression and anxiety?

 

Yes, I think it has for me. TAG is probably more effective for this than other forms of neurofeedback, which may still work of course.

 

 

This is truly remarkable then. Before I decide to get into neurofeedback, do you think it's worth to listening to some binaural beats. Will that give me an indication whether neurofeedback may work for me? If so, which binaural or other entrainment beats should I choose. I have severe MDD, but the symptoms I experience resemble anxiety much more than depression. I am constantly thinking in circles which is wearing me out. It's not even ruminations - after all, a healthy person can ruminate about a particular issue - but semi-conscious and sometimes conscious intrusive thoughts that I know I would not have at all if I was healthy. 

 

 

I have also experimented quite extensively with binaural beats, entrainment and mind machines etc and for me their effect has not at all been close to neurofeedback. I think they might be useful sometimes, I use it sometimes together with neurofeedback, but I could easily do without them.



#29 tolerant

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 01:11 PM

I am really sorry to intrude on your thread with questions that are technically off-topic, but if you don't mind, I will continue to ask newbie questions, because this seems to be the one active thread on this topic.

 

I understand that devices such as NeuroSky, Muse and Emotive Epoc are brain-to-computer devices, in that you only need to put them on, connect wirelessly to the computer and away you go. On the other hand, q-wiz and Olimex OpenEEG devices entail connecting your head to these devices and then connecting these devices to your computer (in case of q-wiz, I further understand that it provides a wireless option of connecting the q-wiz to the computer).

 

I am still interested to know, though, how exactly do you connect your head to these devices. In case of q-wiz, I know there is an EEG cap. I would like to know (1) how is the cap connected to the q-wiz? Can it connect wirelessly, or are there wires sticking out of it? If so, are there just four wires connecting neatly to the back of that EEG cap? Is no gel required in this case? I would also like to know (2) if you go for the Olimex OpenEEG device and electrodes, how do you connect the electrodes to your scalp. What if have really long and thick hair? I wouldn't be able to find a clear piece of scalp to connect the electrodes? Why is gel required? Is gel in this case like a glue connecting the electrodes to the scalp, or is it used to conduct electricity, or both? Also (3) what are "reference" electrodes? (4) I understand that BioExplorer is the best EEG software. Which devices are compatible with it? Are the cheaper brain-to-computer devices compatible? Finally, (5) do any of the cheaper brain-to-computer devices provide raw EEG data, rather their own interpretation, which tells you things like "you are tense, maybe you should stretch your legs"? I was told by a seller of NeuroSky products that BrainBand Pro allows this sort of thing. Which brings me to my last question. Something like BrainBandPro has two electrodes. (6) What is the advantage of having more electrodes? Can two electrodes be enough for a beginner. And what is the point of having 21 electrodes when you only have four channels? (7) What is the difference between electrodes and channels?

 

 


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#30 Crowstream

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 07:59 PM

I am really sorry to intrude on your thread with questions that are technically off-topic, but if you don't mind, I will continue to ask newbie questions, because this seems to be the one active thread on this topic.

 

I understand that devices such as NeuroSky, Muse and Emotive Epoc are brain-to-computer devices, in that you only need to put them on, connect wirelessly to the computer and away you go. On the other hand, q-wiz and Olimex OpenEEG devices entail connecting your head to these devices and then connecting these devices to your computer (in case of q-wiz, I further understand that it provides a wireless option of connecting the q-wiz to the computer).

 

I am still interested to know, though, how exactly do you connect your head to these devices. In case of q-wiz, I know there is an EEG cap. I would like to know (1) how is the cap connected to the q-wiz? Can it connect wirelessly, or are there wires sticking out of it? If so, are there just four wires connecting neatly to the back of that EEG cap? Is no gel required in this case? I would also like to know (2) if you go for the Olimex OpenEEG device and electrodes, how do you connect the electrodes to your scalp. What if have really long and thick hair? I wouldn't be able to find a clear piece of scalp to connect the electrodes? Why is gel required? Is gel in this case like a glue connecting the electrodes to the scalp, or is it used to conduct electricity, or both? Also (3) what are "reference" electrodes? (4) I understand that BioExplorer is the best EEG software. Which devices are compatible with it? Are the cheaper brain-to-computer devices compatible? Finally, (5) do any of the cheaper brain-to-computer devices provide raw EEG data, rather their own interpretation, which tells you things like "you are tense, maybe you should stretch your legs"? I was told by a seller of NeuroSky products that BrainBand Pro allows this sort of thing. Which brings me to my last question. Something like BrainBandPro has two electrodes. (6) What is the advantage of having more electrodes? Can two electrodes be enough for a beginner. And what is the point of having 21 electrodes when you only have four channels? (7) What is the difference between electrodes and channels?

 

You dont need the EEG cap to use the Q-wiz, in fact I think its probably easier just to use electrodes. The cap might be useful if you are going to complete a TLC7 from brain trainer (http://brain-trainer.com/), but you can also do that with electrodes, its just a bit harder. For TAG Sync you dont need to do any of that so you just need electrodes. I have not used the cap so I dont know how it works exactly.

 

I would not recommend the Olimex Open EEG device, it didnt work for me, there was way too much noise for it to be useful. Maybe you can get this to work somehow and I was just unlucky about this, I dont really know, but personally I was dissapointed by trying this and I just decided to get a Q-wiz instead. The Olimex electrodes are hard to connect also as they are pretty big plates sort of, the electrodes I have now for Q-wiz are much smaller and easier to use, you can use them regardless of what hair you have (unless you have dreadlocks or something).

 

As far as I know the gel conducts electricity and helps you get a good connection with the electrodes, the gel also works like a glue and helps keep the electrodes on your head.

 

Neurofeedback can use different electrode setups, like reference or bipolar. Each channel in the EEG amp uses 2 electrodes, so for channel one you have 1+ and 1-, for channel 2 you have 2+, 2-, etc. In a reference setup you put the 1+ electrode on an active site directly on your skull, presumably this records the brain activity  on that site (and also other signals), then you put the 1- electrode on your earlobe, the activity from this electrode is removed from the 1+ signal so in that case you get active electrode - earlobe electrode, so this removes some electrical signals that comes from other things than brain activity (at least as far as I understand this).

 

In a bipolar setup you can put both electrodes on "active" sites, like T3-T4 is a bipolar placement on the left and right temporal lobes. In that case you try to train on the difference signal of the two sites. If you see an increase in a signal when training using a setup like this then what you are seeing is an increased difference between the two sites, this is usually what you do in TAGx1, and you usually start at T3-T4.

 

Bioexplorer is compatible with these devices: (http://www.cyberevol...om/hardware.htm). I am sure cheaper BCIs are available, the question is just if they are good enough. In my experience so far I havent found any that also were of a high enough quality to be useful for me. Emotiv EPOC can provide raw EEG data, but only if you purchase the more expensive version, which sort of defeats the purpose, in my opinion not worth it.

 

I dont know about brain band pro, last time I checked these devices was 1.5-2 years ago so maybe my information is not up to date and accurate.

 

Two electrodes can just make 1 channel since its a + and -, usually you also need a 3rd electrode for ground but maybe thats not totally needed. With 1 channel you are limited in what protocols you can use. You cannot use TAGx2 since its 2 channels, and in my opinion thats the best protocol I have come across so far. That said, I am sure you can do a lot with just 1 channel, TAGx1 works well for me and there are many things you can do with it.

 

The benefit of a 2 channel design is that you can combine the signal from two sites, if you do this then when you see a large increase in the signal you are training then that probably means the increase is occuring in both sites so you can train those sites to fire in synchrony of each other, to strengthen the connections.

 

I have actually experimented with using 4 channels and in my opinion it can be a lot more powerful.

 

When you talk about 21 electrodes for 4 channels I guess you are refering to the 21 electrode cap for the Q-wiz? In that case, no I dont think it is very useful, you can only use a few electrodes at once so you switch between them. The benefit of the cap is that the electrodes are placed at specific electrode sites on the head. So instead of having to find T3-T4-C3-C4-F3-F4-P3-P4-Fz-Pz-Cz-Oz-F7-F8-T5-T6...etc on your own the cap is already positioned to use these sites. With a little bit of work you can learn to find these sites on your own and put electrodes on them, and then as far as I know you dont need the cap for anything, in fact it probably takes more time so I think most people dont use them for their training.


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