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TAGsync: Operation and Discussion

tagsync theta alpha gamma synchrony training neurofeedback operation discussion

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#31 neuroletics

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:11 PM

I'm just curious what targets people are using for Threshold1 on Tagx1 and Tagx2.

I have just started playing with these protocols and I feel like I can only really achieve silence with 1.8u to 11u for threshold1 on Tagx2.

My Tagx1 threshold 1 goes from 0 to 30u! Im not really sure what target we should be aiming for on both protocols.

Is everyone's target for silence going to be different, or is there a certain range we should all kind of be aiming for?

#32 Candidatus

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 12:20 PM

Question about pocketneurobics.com

I have made a purchase of Q-WIZ + accessories on this website and paid via PayPal. It has been already 3 days, the payment is pending, nobody responds to my email, there is no adress or phone contact on the site.

So I want to ask if anybody has any experience with this website? Hope its not a scam because I would be more than 2000$ down :-/ Thanks for any response.

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#33 OpaqueMind

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 01:48 PM

 

I'm just curious what targets people are using for Threshold1 on Tagx1 and Tagx2.

I have just started playing with these protocols and I feel like I can only really achieve silence with 1.8u to 11u for threshold1 on Tagx2.

My Tagx1 threshold 1 goes from 0 to 30u! Im not really sure what target we should be aiming for on both protocols.

Is everyone's target for silence going to be different, or is there a certain range we should all kind of be aiming for?

 

Generally you want to set your thresholds so you get about 80% silence 20% noise. Naturally this varies between people, and I gather it can do so significantly, based on preexisting amplitude/synchrony measures. If you like you can also adjust the threshold measurements, either increasing or decreasing them, to more appropriately reflect the levels you're getting.

 

Question about pocketneurobics.com

I have made a purchase of Q-WIZ + accessories on this website and paid via PayPal. It has been already 3 days, the payment is pending, nobody responds to my email, there is no adress or phone contact on the site.

So I want to ask if anybody has any experience with this website? Hope its not a scam because I would be more than 2000$ down :-/ Thanks for any response.

 

They are legit, though as you can tell their customer service is crappy. Several of us brought our machines from there, including myself. Just hang tight and I'm sure they'll get in touch soon.

 

In other news I've been doing the TLC7 guided protocols recently, and they're pretty excellent. If anyone suspects they have significant brain dysfunction I would recommend going that route first. TAG helped me a lot, but I still have some pretty bad frequency/activation ratio issues over my entire brain, which my brain-trainer based training is helping to alleviate. Reading one of the websites of the inventor of TAGsync, I saw this - "This protocol may be only of supplementary importance if there is focal damage due to trauma, hypoxia, or defect (developmental, metabolic, or genetic, including strong asymmetries).". So it is advisable to first do specifically tailored neurofeedback treatments, based on some kind of EEG analysis, if you suspect something like this. I realize now that TAG is probably more useful as a peak performance trainer, and although it does have remedial functionality, if there are significant underlying dysfunctions in neural communication patterns these should be addressed first, and do not appear to be wholly addressable via TAG training.


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#34 Candidatus

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 02:21 PM

Opaque: Thanks!

One more question. Would you advise to buy the electro-cap for the TLC7 assessment or are normal electrodes ok? And how long does the TLC7 take?

I was originally planning to do just the TAG protocol, but your write-up got me thinking.

#35 OpaqueMind

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 02:33 PM

The electro-cap isn't at all necessary to do the TLC7 assessment, and I did mine with electrodes without fuss. Overall it took me about 2 hours, although I had to do some re-recordings, and I was slowed down by not having someone to help me do some of the tasks. The cost and service provided are very reasonable, I can definitely recommend doing it, as can our man hz.



#36 OpaqueMind

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 03:45 PM

Has anyone spoken to Douglas about the maximal frequency of sessions? I gather that excessive TAG use may in some cases hinder the integration process, though I'm not entirely clear on that. I have no idea on how it works with the BiPolar montages though. I want to train every day, for hours if I can, though I'm not sure whether or not that will be beneficial. Then again, all we're doing is inducing neuroplasticity here, via the same mechanisms that classical learning works by, albeit in a more direct fashion. The question is whether there is a limit to neuroplasticity beyond which 'cued' changes inhibit the ability of the brain to adapt. In this article Douglas talks about the importance of mitigating the neuroinflammation which is a necessary part of plasticity by enhancing intake of neuroprotective substances, specifically NAC. In my experience, grounding (as suggested by crowstream) is also an effective antioxidant donor and booster of neurofeedback adaptations. Anything that boosts neuroprotection will then help us in adopting the changes prompted by nfb training.

 

Dave Asprey from bulletproof exec spoke about doing a neurofeedback course called '40 years of zen', wherein he trained for about a week solid, for many hours a day. If such extensive training is possible with that modality, why not with others? Then again, now with the progressive diversification of the field, neurofeedback =/= neurofeedback, so maybe such an intense approach is not applicable here. If you guys have any thoughts no the matter of training times I'd love to hear them.



#37 OpaqueMind

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:02 PM

Also, a big thanks to Crowstream for suggesting the TAGx1 setup of ILF (0.01-0.5hz) and Delta (1-3hz). I just did a session and had the most profound release of mental, physical and emotional tension when I ran it on my parietals. It felt like my heart was unchained for the first time in ages, with huge waves of joy emanating from there and rippling throughout my body. Are there any other frequencies/frequency combinations you've found particularly effective?

 

Regards to your comments about physical tension and your experience of its release, the 20th century psychologist Wilhelm Reich discovered that all mental tensions have a correlate within the body which he called muscular armour. Mental tensions are essentially emotionally charged belief systems consisting of some kind of rejection of immediately given experience. These are what Jung referred to as complexes which together compose the shadow. In relation to that paper I posted on the last page about mPFC phase resets and belief revision, I believe that what we are doing here is resolving/releasing these psychological complexes, which delimit the range of possible emotions/thoughts/behaviours that we can exhibit and experience. That is, our ability to respond to the world effectively and in relation to what is actually happening, as opposed to responding to historically conditioned interpretations. This relates to the flexibility of our mental models of the world.

 

Other experiences one may have upon the release and integration of these disintegrated psychostructures is an unusual kind of electrical tingling within a certain part of the body, feelings of profound joy, forgotten memories coming to consciousness and/or a release of chronic physical tension. I have noticed that these integrations, especially if they are deep, are sometimes precipitated by a sense of sadness or other negative emotions for up to two days beforehand. Often meditating when these states come on is helpful to speeding up their integration, as well as making sure to let go of as much physical tension as possible during meditation. I also find energy work such as tai chi or qi gung to be very effective in these instances, and also synergistic with this work in general. After they are resolved the sadness lifts to give way to a freshly increased sense of peace and wellbeing.

 

In Buddhist psychology these mental/physical/energy blockages are known as Sankharas and the Buddha emphasized the importance in their integration on the path to enlightenment. He invented a meditation technique to accomplish this called vipassana meditation. The significance of this to our training is that a key aspect of that technique is having a calm and balanced mind during the integration process. This is so that we don't reprogram the complexes with another emotional charge, and may be why Douglas strongly recommends learning how to hold a high heart-rate-variability (via HRV biofeedback), which is directly related to the winding down of the stress response. I even asked him what the difference between his normal TAG package and the one he called Technology Assisted Self Realisation (TASR) and one of the key differences was that the latter included HRV monitoring, which indicates the importance of HRV training if our goal is full self-realisation. All of the above also suggests to me that it is possible to reach the state of the unconditioned via the proper application of the TAG protocols. I know a few of you guys got into TAG with spiritual advancement as one of your primary aims; how are you all coming along in that respect? Have you had any experiences which you might call transcendental yet?

 

Another way to look at this is as the progressive destruction of accumulated social and cultural conditioning. All the emotionally conditioned responses that have become stuck in us by way of chance, coercion, by reward or punishment deeply direct our mental and physical behaviour, yet we are generally unaware of them. Our conditioning is very much like programming, with specific inputs giving specific outputs, in accordance with precedents set by history both personal and collective. Conditioning is acontextual, inflexible and unmindful, and is in direct contrast to consciousness which is inherently contextual, flexible and mindful. The progressive desedimentation of conditioning leads to an increase in consciousness and all of its associated attributes. I understand this in terms of the Integrated Information Theory of consciousness wherein conditioning is a literally dis-integrated pattern of mind, since the path from input to output is self-enclosed ie takes in no further information. Perhaps this relates to self-organised criticality in some way; Given that EEG measurements of monks in the unconditioned state display massive (perhaps total) neural synchrony across all frequencies, this hints that all inhibition on the interneuronal level has ceased ie that there is total excitation. Total excitation is here coupled with a complete destruction of all mental conditioning, which implies that inhibition may play a role in conditioning, which makes sense if you think about how those information patterns of input-output are disintegrated from wider cortical circuits ie non-contextual, unconscious etc. If this is so then the unconditioned state aka enlightenment is the embodiment of optimally self-organised criticality, and total neural excitation is its upper bound.

 

Another thing, for all you theory junkies out there, check out this fascinating paper which has some intriguing consequences for our understanding of TAGsync, as well as cortical/mental dynamics in general. If anyone would like to discuss any of these ideas I would be very happy to. Peace  :-D


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#38 hza

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Posted 29 August 2014 - 07:21 PM

In Buddhist psychology these mental/physical/energy blockages are known as Sankharas and the Buddha emphasized the importance in their integration on the path to enlightenment. He invented a meditation technique to accomplish this called vipassana meditation. The significance of this to our training is that a key aspect of that technique is having a calm and balanced mind during the integration process. This is so that we don't reprogram the complexes with another emotional charge, and may be why Douglas strongly recommends learning how to hold a high heart-rate-variability (via HRV biofeedback), which is directly related to the winding down of the stress response.

 

I wish I remembered where I read it, but I accidentally stumbled across remarks somewhere that about 20 minutes of "Microcosmic Orbit" meditation was very helpful for integration of intense experiences like this in which a massive neuronal change requires a bit of ironing out in the larger nervous system.  Google or do a Youtube search on the technique and you'll find it somewhere pretty much immediately.  It's like HRV but with an element of qigong and body awareness thrown in.  Hopefully I'll find that quote; been racking my brains for the last week but I honestly have no idea now where I read that.  It was an obvious match for TAG though, I remember that much at least.  Certainly worth trying.


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#39 tolerant

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 04:06 AM

OK, I'm sorry for flooding this thread with my newbie questions. I think I will have to learn on the job. So I've narrowed down my questions to two: 

 

1. Is a device with two dry sensors enough for a newbie whose immediate aim is solely to overcome MDD/anxiety to make a start in neurofeedback?

2. Is such a limited device going to be compatible with BioExplorer and at least some of the TAG protocols you guys are discussing?

 

Kind regards,

 

tolerant



#40 Crowstream

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 08:11 AM

OK, I'm sorry for flooding this thread with my newbie questions. I think I will have to learn on the job. So I've narrowed down my questions to two: 

 

1. Is a device with two dry sensors enough for a newbie whose immediate aim is solely to overcome MDD/anxiety to make a start in neurofeedback?

2. Is such a limited device going to be compatible with BioExplorer and at least some of the TAG protocols you guys are discussing?

 

Kind regards,

 

tolerant

 

No worries tolerant, maybe others want to know too :) , TAG Sync is pretty hard to get started with after all.

 

A device with two dry sensors might be enough to get started, you will probably be limited to 1 channel protocols though but you can get a lot out of just that I think.

 

Bioexplorer has a list of the compatible devices here http://www.cyberevol...om/hardware.htm If the device you are interested in is not on the list then maybe it will be sometime in the future, you can ask in the bioexplorer yahoo group I guess and maybe someone will know more.

 

If your device is only capable of 1 channel then you cant run TAGx2, which is the main protocol we are using. You can probably run TAGx1 though, which in my experience can also be powerful. The main use of this protocol I think is doing neurofeedback in the infra-low frequency ranges (below 0.5hz or so), doing this at for example 0.1hz can target the resting state networks in the brain like the default mode network which is very important to stabilize. Some devices are not capable of going this low in frequency, bioexplorer itself is limited in what ranges you can set (this might change soon).

 

Without knowing more about the particular device you are interested in I cant really do more than guess though  :) , do you have a link for it where I could take a look perhaps?



#41 Crowstream

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 10:57 AM

I thought I would give you all an update on how I have been using TAG Sync lately, I have been doing some experimentation with the protocol and I feel like I have found some things that work really well for me.

 

Increasing channels:

I asked DD why TAG Sync uses 2 channels, and not say 4, his reply was something like this: that more channels is possible but it can be harder because you are covering a larger area. Part of the reason for starting at Fz-Pz is that the communication between those areas already tend to be strong in most people compared to other areas, so you can find and train the synchrony easier between these sites. In one of the articles he sent me he comments "This suggests that training synchrony over greater distances also supports the emergence of criticality". This may be one of the reasons for moving the electrodes down to Fpz-Oz after doing Fz-Pz, to cover a larger area which will support more criticality in the brain.

I thought about this and decided to try making a 4-channel design to see if I could uptrain synchrony over larger areas and if this would have any noticeable effect. I found that it was possible to change the design to use 4-channels. I have experimented with different electrode setups for this, but the main one I have been using is a kind of extension of Fz-Pz, it will usually be Fz-Cz-Pz-Oz, so it covers a large part of the midline. I have also tried Fpz-Fz--Pz-Oz and this works too.

When I started I think there was less theta-alpha synchrony that I could see using these setups (I doubled the sensitivity setting on the spectral display from 25u to 50u to reflect 2x the amount of electrodes), but over time my theta-alpha synchrony would build over and across sessions and now it is always very strong, when I close my eyes I will have powerful theta-alpha activity in all electrodes consistently. This is a sign to me that the communication between these sites has improved significantly from doing this, also I think it is a sign of my brain organizing at increasing levels of self-organized criticality.

 

I also feel that the effects of this training has been even more powerful for me than the 2-channel training, although I think the 2-channel training was also needed in order to build sufficient synchrony to get started. Now I can easily get very strong alpha-theta synchrony and it is reflected in my mental state, I will always have very deep meditative sessions now and I feel like the after-effects of training are very strong. I started training my sister also and she has tried both 2 and 4 channel designs, she told me that she feels the 4-channel is more powerful, although in her case the theta-alpha synchrony is much harder to see using this setup, she will only have occasional increases that you can see in the spectrum analyzer so we use lower reward thresholds.

 

Increasing reward frequencies:

When I first got TAG Sync I wondered where the gamma training was in this protocol, later I found out that you need to change one of the rewards to gamma in order to train it. I thought about the possibility of using 3 rewards at once to really do theta-alpha-gamma training. Later I also found out that training delta might also be useful, but DD thinks there is not enough support for this yet in the scientific litterature. I decided to try this anyway and see for myself what effects I could get. I made 4 reward frequencies of delta, theta, alpha and gamma. Then I would try different combinations, a session would typically look like this: delta-theta, delta-alpha, delta-gamma, theta-alpha, theta-gamma, alpha-gamma, theta-alpha-gamma. I definitively noticed some strong effects out of doing this, I feel like I made another quantum leap in my training  :). I would feel the after-effects of training very strongly for hours. Each combination to me felt different, although the differences are subtle and hard to describe, there is definitively something different about them. My sister also tried these different combinations but she did not respond well to delta training, it made her sleepy and she experienced increased headaches from delta-gamma so this might not be useful for everyone. The point about neurofeedback though seems to be that everyone will have individual responses to training, and you need to dial into what works best for you, with this setup I feel like I could do a lot of experimentation to find out what works best for me. Now I am mostly using the theta-alpha-gamma combination, which I feel is incredibly powerful. It can be too much though, my sister felt she had enough of this after 15-20 minutes.

 

Most of the EEG signal that we measure at the scalp is generated by the cortex, but it seems like different EEG frequencies have different associations to deeper structures in the brain, for example:

-Delta - seems to be more connected to the hypothalamus (according this book: "Neurofeedback in the treatment of developmental trauma"). It is very much involved in basic life-sustaining functions and is highly connected to the autonomic nervous system (fight-or-flight responses etc, but also the social engagement system), interestingly it is fully functional at birth and "constitutes the most primitive, archaic, reflexive and purely biological aspect of the psyche". Antonio Damasio thinks that the brainstem, hypothalamus and the basal forebrain constitute the origins of the self in the nonconcious brain, the proto-self.

The hypothalamus has a central role in fear regulation, through the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis it is involved in the stress response.

 

I believe that training delta to cross-frequency couple to other frequencies has some kind of integrative effect through the different layers or levels of consciousness, where delta may be operating at a more basic and primitive level. This has at least been my experience when trying delta-theta, delta-alpha, delta-gamma, etc. Babies will typically have delta as their dominant frequency, and will slowly develop to produce more of the higher frequencies, until we reach our adult consciousness, in this way psychologically speaking delta may integrate these more primitive versions of the self.

 

-Theta - seems to be closely connected to the limbic (mammallian) system, and more particularly to the hippocampus, which is the brains "portal to memory", this might be a place of stored traumatic experiences that can be integrated through TAG Sync.

 

-Alpha - close connection to the thalamus, seems to be the "bridge" between conscious and unconscious parts of the self, would be correlated more to "the ego".

 

-Gamma - I have not been able to find any place in the brain that seems to be more involved with gamma, to me gamma feels important in integrating these other levels into the "super-consciousness" or enlightened mind which may be why it seems to be altered in long-time meditators.

 

Anyways, my point about this I think is that training to cross-frequency couple all of these might be important since that could enhance the communication between different levels of the self, in order to become a more integrated person.

 

Continuous reward feedback:

I understand the "salience of silence" concept and the quiet reward, and I found this to be useful for my training. I decided to explore further however and see if I could maximize the informational flow in the neurofeedback system. I thought I could do this by coupling the reward amplitudes to the volume of mp3 players so that I could continually hear the change in the amplitude of the signals. I used a meditational track with 3 mp3 files that would play the sound of rain, wind and a meditation soundtrack. The volumes would shift as the amplitudes of delta, theta and alpha changed. That way I could always hear the exact value. I thought this would give my brain more information as the volumes would be different through the entire range of change in the EEG amplitudes, and that this would help the brain regulate itself.

Traditional neurofeedback rests heavily on Behaviorism and on the theories of operant and classical conditioning, which to me seems a bit outdated and narrow minded. The definition of what can constitute a "reward" or "inhibit" seems very vague to me, and I think that maybe rewards and inhibits works because the brain receives information that it can use to reconfigure and regulate its state and not because it is being rewarded or punished.

If that is the case then neurofeedback should work even better if you maximize the informational flow that goes to the brain about its state.

It has been my experience doing this that continuous feedback works better. I can really tune into for example the sound of wind increasing and decreasing as my alpha amplitude changes and this has been really useful for me in learning to influence the alpha signal.

Nowadays I will disable the delta sound to focus in only on theta and alpha, but I will probably return to training more delta later on.

 

In the future I want to try to develop even better neurofeedback systems, by using audio and video signals that can represent the information in the EEG even better.

 

I also want to try using even more channels, however at the moment I have maxed out on my Q-wiz which can only do 4 channels. I have found this project however: http://www.openbci.com/

They will pretty soon be delivering 8 and 16 channel devices at a much lower cost, my friend has pre-ordered an 8-channel from them so we will probably be developing neurofeedback protocols with 8-channels.

I dont know how good those devices will be of course so I cant recommend it to anyone yet.


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#42 Crowstream

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 01:24 PM

I hope posting 3 times in a row is not too annoying  :) , I wanted to reply to OpaqueMinds earlier post so I decided to make another separate reply since this is a bit unrelated to what I was writing about before.

 

Physical and mental tension:

I think there is definitively something to this, Reich and Jung were way ahead of their time but I think most trauma theories nowadays incorporates the idea of trauma being stored in the body. I think if trauma can be stored in the body then it can be kept dissociated from normal waking consciousness and in that way it may serve as a coping mechanism in order for the organism to focus on and survive in the present. It can be felt however as a kind of background tension and perhaps as a vague sense of fear, dread or pain that has unknown origins. Rejection is also an important part of this as you mention, I think it is a core mechanism in trauma, perhaps experiences can be too overwhelming to be accepted as something real that is actually happening for the person involved, and therefore will need to be dissociated. The rejection of experience however I think will lead to a kind of splitting or breaking of the self since some parts must be denied and rejected, this can lead to a kind of disintegration and an inflexibility of mind as these rejections of reality have to be kept firmly in place by a rigid mind that is attempting to gain control over the overwhelming chaos.

 

There is an interesting article correlating physical and mental tension to excessive beta synchrony in the EEG: http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/20359884

 

The article seems to indicate that increased beta synchrony (the inhibits in TAG Sync) signals the "status quo", which for example in the motor system manifests as muscle tension or holding on to some position, this also seems to be the case on the mental level where it indicates a kind of inflexibility of mind and a holding on to thoughts as well as inhibition from top-down brain structures, this might be the ego structure attempting to gain a rigid hold, it could also be a sign of obsession, compulsion etc. According to the article "BBA may relate not only to the involvement of top-down processing, but also to the contents of the top-down signal: BBA may be enhanced if the status quo is given priority over new signals (and potential new signals are deemed distractive), whereas gamma-band activity may predominate if changes in the stimulus are expected." I think this correlates very well to what you said about  mPFC phase resets and belief revision. Beta activity signals old thoughts being rigidly held in place whereas gamma would signal a belief revision, or experience having an impact and changing the mind. My experience with using TAG Sync seems to indicate this, I feel like it has made me less rigid and in a sense I feel more free to choose.

 

Spiritual development, consciousness and self-organized criticality:

In regard to your question about spiritual development, I have not had any transcendental or mystical experiences but I feel a lot more grounded, peaceful and loving. "Life as meditation" is starting to make more and more sense to me and in a sense I feel like I am growing further and further into my experience of life. I dont know if that is spiritual development but I feel like it may be, coming into closer contact to reality is a spiritual experience I think.

 

I think you may be right about conditioning and consciousness, and that TAG Sync is taking us toward a more unconditioned and conscious state. I think that consciousness definitively does relate to self-organized criticality, this article was really useful in understanding this better for me: http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/22627091 According to this article 3 important qualities are optimized at self-organized criticality: 1) dynamic range 2) information transfer 3) information capacity. Dynamic range is basicly the range of stimuli that will elicit a response, kind of like in a camera you have a range of light being captured, the shadows and highlights being the end of the light-range, if you are trying to take a picture of say a landscape with the sun then usually in the picture the sun will be too bright and blow out the highlights and the shadows will be too dark and will have no detail. A higher dynamic range means you can capture more information about a greater range of values, so for a person I guess it might mean greater perception as well as a greater repertoire of behavioral responses.  

 

Improved information transmission means the brain can "encode a set of stimuli with multidimensional difference".

 

You can quantify the diversity of the cortical activity pattern repertoire to measure information capacity, "The size of the cortical activity repertoire can be quantified by calculating the entropy of a set of measured activity patterns. In fact, Shannon (1948) defined the term information capacity in terms of entropy."

 

So I guess since all of these qualities increase at self-organized criticality, it also means that consciousness is maximized since the brain is capable of generating a greater range of representations and responses.

 

I have to disagree with you a little bit about neural synchrony being the path to self-organized criticality, according to the article self-organized criticality emerges at the balance of excitation and inhibition. An excessive level of excitation will lead to the brain entering super-critical states, this is what they say about this "Why is cortical dynamic range maximized at criticality? As discussed in the introduction, criticality strikes a balance between runaway excitation (supercritical) and activity that tends to die out quickly (subcritical). In the subcritical regime, poor sensitivity to low-intensity stimuli results in low dynamic range. This makes sense because small stimuli die out quickly in the subcritical regime. In the super-critical regime, the ability to distinguish large stimuli is reduced, thus reducing the dynamic range. Here, the runaway excitation causes a saturated response, which makes large stimuli indistinguishable."

 

 

Also I do not believe that synchrony must mean excitation, it could be the opposite actually, as this article seems to suggest: http://journal.front....00074/abstract

For example in the abstract they say "Applying mathematical models of information theory, we demonstrate that neural desynchronization is positively related to the richness of information represented in the brain, thereby enabling encoding and retrieval of long-term memories." A desynchronization seems to indicate increased entropy in the brain (from an information theory standpoint and not entropy as in thermodynamics), this increased entropy also means more information.

 

Interestingly the article also says this "A recent framework postulated that alpha amplitude modulations regulate the inhibitory level of the cortex (Klimesch et al.,2007; Jensen and Mazaheri, 2010). Thereby, increases in alpha amplitudes reflect inhibition of task irrelevant brain regions and a growing body of literature provides evidence for this assumption (see Klimesch et al., 2007; Jensen and Mazaheri, 2010;for reviews)."

 

This all becomes a lot more interesting when you couple it to this article: http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/24550805 

 

"Moreover, this leads to the proposal that the brain of mod-

ern adult humans differs from that of its closest evolutionary
and developmental antecedents because of an extended capac-
ity for entropy suppression, implying that the system (i.e., the
brain) gravitates away from criticality proper toward a state
of slight sub-criticality. The psychological counterpart of this
process is the development of a mature ego and associated
metacognitive functions (see below for relevant definitions of
these terms). Specifically, we propose that within-default-mode
network (DMN)  resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) 
and spontaneous, synchronous oscillatory activity in the poste-
rior cingulate cortex (PCC), particularly in the alpha (8–13Hz)
frequency band, can be treated as neural correlates of “ego
integrity.”
 
Basicly they gave people psilocybin while they sat in a scanner, their brain activity showed global broadband desynchronization, which the researchers thought signified increased entropy, which would be correlated to peoples experience of the psychedelic state. 
 
The psychedelics seem to target the default mode network the most, which seem to be correlated to the ego-structure.
 
"Evidence implicates the DMN in self-reflective and introspective
functions (Qin and Northoff, 2011) and the phase of fluctuating
activity in the DMN is often inversely correlated (or “anticor-
related”) with fluctuating activity in networks concerned with
task-focused attention (task-positive networks, TPNs) (Fox et al.,
2005). Like the DMN, alpha oscillations mature developmentally
and evolutionarily (Basar and Guntekin, 2009), tempting spec-
ulations that these rhythms have developed to reduce “entropy”
[i.e., disorder or uncertainty (Ben-Naim, 2008)] by increasing
mutual information among neuronal ensembles (Tononi et al.,
1994; Basar and Guntekin, 2009). With this in mind, it was
remarkable that we recently found a highly significant positive
correlation between the magnitude of alpha power decreases in
the PCC after psilocybin and ratings of the item “I experienced
a disintegration of my ‘self’ or ‘ego’.” Scores on this item also
correlated positively with decreases in delta, theta, beta, and low
gamma power, although alpha explained the most variance (a
considerable 66%)"
 
 
As for what this means for TAG Sync I am not really sure, maybe it means that we train both synchrony and desynchronization since we do get feedback information when the signal is high and low, maybe the brain can use that information to build self-organized criticality more effectively.

 


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#43 tolerant

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 02:14 PM

Crowstream, thanks for your response. By the way, why do you say that having two sensor equates to having one channel?

 

The device I'm interested in is the MyndPlay BrainBan XL: http://myndplay.com/...ucts.php?prod=9. It seems to be very simple to set up and comfortable to wear. I've emailed both the makers of BioExplorer and the device to ask about compatibility. 

 

The Muse device (choosemuse.com) seems to rely on apps, does not seem to collect and/or store raw EEG data and it doesn't even look like it's compatible with a PC. But if somebody would correct me, I would only be happy, because it has seven sensors to 

 

The Emotive EPOC (http://www.emotiv.com/epoc.php) seems to have too many electrode arms sticking out of it and I would need to learn where to place them. Also, I've been advised that it's best worn backwards (!), which means that all the data you get on screen is also inverted.

 

They are the devices I'm choosing from basically. The q-wiz, in addition to being pricier than the above three devices seems way too complicated for me at this stage.



#44 Crowstream

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Posted 30 August 2014 - 02:54 PM

It usually takes an active electrode and a reference electrode to make one channel, in the feature section of the myndplay it says "Dual sensor EEG unit (one active with adjustable positions)". Which I think means that it is one channel since one active means the other is a reference to the active electrode, I could we wrong about that of course so maybe you can ask them.

 

The emotiv has pretty poor sensors I think, they are dry sensors which is not really optimal for neurofeedback I think. You have to wet them with water before each use and they might not record activity at a high enough quality.

 

I think this seems more promising: http://www.openbci.com/



#45 tolerant

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 11:31 AM

I'm really looking for a brain-to-computer device, preferably. This sounds promising, but has not been released yet: https://emotiv.com/insight.php

 

You're right that the MyndPlay BrainBan XL says that "Dual sensor EEG unit (one active with adjustable positions)", yet on a video I watched, the two sensors seem to be placed quite close together on the forehead, and there's an additional ear clip. Would the ear clip likely to be a sensor? Would that make it three sensors in total? I will investigate this issue further.



#46 Meggo

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Posted 31 August 2014 - 12:11 PM

I just had my first Tagx1 session over T3/T4 and was wondering if one has to activate EEG freeze offset on the Q-Wiz to do the ILF sessions (link led turns blue) or not (i didn't activate it this time) ? 



#47 Crowstream

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 01:42 PM

I'm really looking for a brain-to-computer device, preferably. This sounds promising, but has not been released yet: https://emotiv.com/insight.php

 

You're right that the MyndPlay BrainBan XL says that "Dual sensor EEG unit (one active with adjustable positions)", yet on a video I watched, the two sensors seem to be placed quite close together on the forehead, and there's an additional ear clip. Would the ear clip likely to be a sensor? Would that make it three sensors in total? I will investigate this issue further.

 

Yes I think the ear clip is a sensor, maybe the two electrodes could use it as a reference electrode, in that case maybe you can get 2 channels. It could however just be a ground electrode and the other two is an active and reference electrode, in which case it would only be one channel.


I just had my first Tagx1 session over T3/T4 and was wondering if one has to activate EEG freeze offset on the Q-Wiz to do the ILF sessions (link led turns blue) or not (i didn't activate it this time) ? 

 

I have experimented with this and I think its better to activate the freeze offset, it definitively effects the ILF signal strongly and it becomes more dynamic, I also feel the effects of training more when the blue light is on.



#48 hza

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 01:47 PM

Would the ear clip likely to be a sensor? Would that make it three sensors in total? I will investigate this issue further.

 

I don't know anything particular about Emotiv equipment, but if it's an ear clip I don't think it could be a sensor.  Either it's a reference, or far more likely it's an electrical ground.  



#49 hza

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Posted 01 September 2014 - 02:04 PM

I was wondering about 4-channel TAG also.  I guess it would be pretty easy to set up two more channels in the signal diagram as copies of the first 2?  I have a tutorial for BioExplorer from Brain-trainer, really ought to watch it sometime.  But maybe that's the long term future, once one gains a mastery of producing phase resets in 2 channels across all the conceivable site pairs and network hubs.  I've been interested for some years in the work of Jim Hardt and Les Fehmi, who apparently base most of their efforts on creating Alpha synchrony from the back of the head (I think Occipital), around the sides, and up the midline.  From what I've read on the subject, this was the pattern found in the old meditating monk studies.  Fehmi has a device he invented that splits a single EEG channel 5 ways to allow electrode placements to train all these areas simultaneously.  

 

But here's what I was wondering:  is it possible or desirable to train bipolar at multiple sites?  Like say you use the TAG x2 design to train P3/F7 and P4/F8 as two bipolar channels simultaneously, and you could do cross frequency coupling while you're at it.  And then I wondered, what if you took a standard 4C design and set it up for SMR--assuming you know your "sweet spot" frequencies for all the sites, you could theoretically run 4 bipolar montages at once.  How crazy would that be?  I have this idea that bipolar and ILF is probably very helpful and maybe even irreplaceable in training up the resting state networks, and that might be one way to do it.  Or I suppose it could be a really bad idea.  I wouldn't try it before researching it and asking a professional first, but it occurred to me that one of you guys might already know the answer about running multiple bipolar montages.

 

Really great discussion here.  I can't contribute much atm because I don't have a lot of experience to offer yet, and it takes me approximately a year to write more than about 3 paragraphs, but I wanted at least to express how much I'm enjoying reading along.

 



#50 tolerant

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 03:37 AM

So is TAGsync about getting different regions of your brain to produce the same wavelengths/amplitude at the same time? Is this where the "sync" comes into it. I am still totally clueless about what is meant by "training". How do you train? Do you try to adopt different mental states/thought processes by trial and error, then see which one results in synchrony and try your hardest to stay in that state until it becomes natural???



#51 umop 3pisdn

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Posted 02 September 2014 - 06:53 AM

TAGsync training is in my experience typically like a more explicit form of meditation practice in a lot of ways. You can apply a lot of mental effort and get some pretty extreme results, but it's generally counterproductive in the long term, in that the experience has to be enjoyable for you to want to continue doing it, and striving isn't very enjoyable and sometimes you can become over-sensitized and wear yourself out, so a more gentle effort is better. It calls for basically the same set of skills as meditation does, specifically: mindfulness- the ability to keep in mind and recall your object of awareness, alertness- the 'alarm' mechanism that alerts you to failure of mindfulness, or keeps in mind what you're doing in the present moment and how bright or dull your awareness is and noticing shifts in this quality in the present moment etc, and effort- a balanced and moderate application of energy to support these faculties in a stable way. TAGsync generally gives you feedback relating to your success in these areas which is very useful, in fact I'd say that it particularly seems to respond to 'alertness' but more interesting is it seems to cause the mind to advert to its own qualities. This is essentially something that you could call the mind 'turning back on itself' or taking awareness itself as the object of awareness, creating a kind of closed feedback loop where the neurofeedback will actually fall into the background and become irrelevant.

 

I've gradually been writing a post that goes into much greater detail on this area, I started when the topic of spiritual practice was brought up, but I've been a bit lazy about it and there were a few subjects I wanted to touch on that were a bit nebulous so if you're still curious about what in particular I do when I use TAGsync, I do plan to go into more detail later.

 

 


Edited by umop 3pisdn, 02 September 2014 - 06:58 AM.

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#52 OpaqueMind

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 07:04 PM

This process consists in much trail and error for all of us, I'm glad we're all here to have this discussion and share our knowledge collectively.

 

I have something else to add, pertaining to your beginning state when starting neurofeedback. If you are starting from a place of noticeable cognitive dysfunction or slowness (although I suspect most if not all people can benefit from these), there are three protocols it might be particularly helpful to start with; interhemispheric infralow frequency bipolar to train glial cell networks, single channel SMR at Cz to train the general regulation of cortical timing relationships (reward 12-15hz, inhibit excess 4-7 and 20-30hz activity) and cognitive efficiency training aka single channel alpha amplitude training for cognitive slowness (reward 10-12hz, again inhibit excess 4-7 and 20-30hz). These latter two generally take 10-20 sessions to complete [source]. I recently found out about the significance of alpha amplitude training if your levels are low; symptoms include poor sensory gating, poor attention span, anxiety, poor learning capacity, general brain fog and several other things. Alpha amplitude is not trained by alpha-theta synchrony training, and is really a necessary prerequisite to getting the most out of TAG. If you have low alpha then this training will be profound by itself. I feel I've made more gains from these recent alpha sessions than I have in the past several weeks of synchrony training! If you have problems with learning efficiency, sensory gating, anxiety and the like then you most likely require alpha amplitude training. To give a sense of the difference it makes to TAGsync, I've been doing TAG off and on (mostly on) for over 5 months and still can't hold alpha-theta synchrony at a continuous rate. In comparison, I gather that crowstream is now able to generate and hold ATS eyes closed without effort after just a single month of training. Given my recent massive gains from amplitude training, I have little doubt that low alpha is the culprit for my comparatively lagging abilities.



#53 hza

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Posted 03 September 2014 - 11:46 PM

That's interesting.  I was planning to try SMR at Cz and maybe C4 next, and of course ILF is on the list too.  Where do you train Alpha amplitude?  I couldn't get the link to work. 

 

I have something else to add, pertaining to your beginning state when starting neurofeedback. If you are starting from a place of noticeable cognitive dysfunction or slowness (although I suspect most if not all people can benefit from these), there are three protocols it might be particularly helpful to start with; interhemispheric infralow frequency bipolar to train glial cell networks, single channel SMR at Cz to train the general regulation of cortical timing relationships (reward 12-15hz, inhibit excess 4-7 and 20-30hz activity) and cognitive efficiency training aka single channel alpha amplitude training for cognitive slowness (reward 10-12hz, again inhibit excess 4-7 and 20-30hz). These latter two generally take 10-20 sessions to complete [source]. 

 



#54 tolerant

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 04:17 AM

TAGsync training is in my experience typically like a more explicit form of meditation practice in a lot of ways. You can apply a lot of mental effort and get some pretty extreme results, but it's generally counterproductive in the long term, in that the experience has to be enjoyable for you to want to continue doing it, and striving isn't very enjoyable and sometimes you can become over-sensitized and wear yourself out, so a more gentle effort is better. It calls for basically the same set of skills as meditation does, specifically: mindfulness- the ability to keep in mind and recall your object of awareness, alertness- the 'alarm' mechanism that alerts you to failure of mindfulness, or keeps in mind what you're doing in the present moment and how bright or dull your awareness is and noticing shifts in this quality in the present moment etc, and effort- a balanced and moderate application of energy to support these faculties in a stable way. TAGsync generally gives you feedback relating to your success in these areas which is very useful, in fact I'd say that it particularly seems to respond to 'alertness' but more interesting is it seems to cause the mind to advert to its own qualities. This is essentially something that you could call the mind 'turning back on itself' or taking awareness itself as the object of awareness, creating a kind of closed feedback loop where the neurofeedback will actually fall into the background and become irrelevant.

 

I've gradually been writing a post that goes into much greater detail on this area, I started when the topic of spiritual practice was brought up, but I've been a bit lazy about it and there were a few subjects I wanted to touch on that were a bit nebulous so if you're still curious about what in particular I do when I use TAGsync, I do plan to go into more detail later.

 

This is very disconcerting. As I mentioned previously, possibly in another thread, I feel so "worn out" at the moment that my mind is rejecting any sort of meditation. So you're saying that neurofeedback involves the same kind of "work". Well that only makes sense. You can't get something for nothing. I am far from being a religious person, but I do believe that the idea of getting results by just performing a "ceremony" as it were is contrary to God's will and can never be sustained. Hence my scepticism of entrainment. It just doesn't seem right to me that healing is possible without mental effort and sacrifice. 

 

I was very impressed by the tremendous relief and feelings of joy after using certain frequencies that the topic starter described. But did he have to "earn" it? Maybe not in that particular session, but as a cumulative result of previous sessions?

 

So is neurofeedback something which is an aid which allows you to visualise your results but does not mean you can do without the heavy mental lifting which is required by psychotherapy?



#55 hza

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 05:54 AM

This is very disconcerting. As I mentioned previously, possibly in another thread, I feel so "worn out" at the moment that my mind is rejecting any sort of meditation. So you're saying that neurofeedback involves the same kind of "work". Well that only makes sense. You can't get something for nothing. I am far from being a religious person, but I do believe that the idea of getting results by just performing a "ceremony" as it were is contrary to God's will and can never be sustained. Hence my scepticism of entrainment. It just doesn't seem right to me that healing is possible without mental effort and sacrifice. 

 

I was very impressed by the tremendous relief and feelings of joy after using certain frequencies that the topic starter described. But did he have to "earn" it? Maybe not in that particular session, but as a cumulative result of previous sessions?

 

So is neurofeedback something which is an aid which allows you to visualise your results but does not mean you can do without the heavy mental lifting which is required by psychotherapy?

 

 

 

EEG neurofeedback in general is a fairly effortless prospect.  You're told to pay attention to the feedback but exert no conscious effort because nfb occurs in the interface between the computer and the brain, leaving the mind out of the loop.  TAG in that respect is a very different sort of nfb because all accounts from people who've had success with it (that I've seen so far) appear to agree that some sort of conscious effort is required.  

 

That's given me a lot of trouble getting started because I was used to the easy nfb, so I just hooked myself up to the EEG, plugged in the TAG design and waited for an hour for the feedback to do its work, and it did nothing.  After doing that a few times I decided I was doing something wrong, so I wrote DD to ask what I should be doing.  I asked in many times in many different emails, but so far have never got an answer to that question.  He has told me a lot of other very interesting stuff, though, and every email from him usually comes with a couple of informative articles that have possible bearing on TAG training.

 

That makes this thread particularly valuable, because while there may be multiple approaches to TAG that work, the standard method of passively letting the nfb do its thing apparently is not one of them.  I really wonder if there wouldn't be a way to adapt the design to make it more like regular nfb.  One very simple thing would be to set the thresholds so that the 80/20 balance maintains itself automatically so that you don't have to keep futzing with the controls while you're supposed to be in a quiet meditative space.  I don't know what the harm would be in that, but I asked DD about auto thresholds once and he said explicitly to only use manual, and related a story about a girl (I think in Taiwan) who used auto and ended up in some kind of recursive seizure that required her to be airlifted to another country for treatment.  So, screw auto, I guess.  

 

It's interesting though because TAG also has design options like playing audio, and the track he includes is this weird John Sousa marching band A-team sounding kind of stuff, like basically the last thing you would expect to assist a meditative state.  DD's a funny guy.  I take it he works with a lot of veterans.  Anyway I tried swapping out the A-Team music with some quieter stuff but it didn't work.  The thing is, without some pretty continual adjustment, it's very hard to maintain the right ratio of warnings vs rewards.  In self training, that's what the auto option is for.  If you go to a clinic, you have a person sitting there monitoring the session and making adjustments as needed.  When you're training yourself, every movement or deliberate action you make immediately alters the brain state and pattern that you're in.  

 

That said, even at its best nfb is not a free lunch.  First of all you have to show up for it.  That may sound easy now, but it gets difficult fitting in an hour or more 2-3 times a week on a consistent basis.  And there most definitely is an integrative process that goes along with it behind the scenes:  your brain needs time to catch up to the changes, and that can take a lot of time and it can have its ups and downs.  One popular protocol that takes the client to a state hovering on the threshold between Alpha and Theta is known to cause some frightening reactions like traumatic memories surfacing, and if you're not prepared to deal with that, it can be a rough experience.  So nfb is not a miracle waving of the magic wand, but at the same time it's an enormous leap forward in terms both of therapy and enhancing personal performance.  It's often recommended to do nfb in conjunction with psychotherapy to maximize the benefits of both.  I'd try it if I had it available to me, but psychotherapy by itself strikes me as an endless loop for some people like medication is for others.  Nfb very often gets good results, and very often in a matter of weeks or a few months.

 


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#56 tolerant

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 06:09 AM

So did you find "ordinary" neurofeedback helpful in terms of achieving a state of piece of mind? And is it something you can do at home or would it make sense to get a few sessions with a qualified therapist first?

 

P.S. And I still don't get what you have to do during a session. I can understand that for ADHD (because I've been able to find videos on youtube) they can have special games, where kids have to navigate spaceships by concentrating their mind and there will be a separate screen showing the brain activity. I don't understand what is useful about it. Get the same kid to concentrate on reading or learning something or whatever and you'll get the same results.

 

For depression, I'm totally clueless what a neurofeedback session involves. Can someone explain?


Edited by tolerant, 04 September 2014 - 06:16 AM.


#57 hza

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 06:26 AM

I can't make statements as to absolute clarity of mind, but my own inner state is a lot quieter than it used to be.  I have a looong way to go, which is why I'm glad to have my own equipment rather than contemplate consulting a clinical therapist, because that gets expensive in a hurry.  Bear in mind also that with your own equipment you can do any kind of nfb you want, including TAG.  You have to pay for the designs, but once you have one, you have infinite use of it at no extra charge (beyond electrodes and paste), whereas a typical nfb clinician might charge you $100 per session, possibly more. 

 

If it's in your budget, I'd say go see a nfb therapist too, to get a feel for the territory.  But bear in mind, therapists are like any other sort of consulting professional in that they tend to have their own particular beliefs about what's best, and there's a lot of disagreement out there so you tend to get some conflicting advice.  



#58 Crowstream

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 12:10 PM

I was wondering about 4-channel TAG also.  I guess it would be pretty easy to set up two more channels in the signal diagram as copies of the first 2?  I have a tutorial for BioExplorer from Brain-trainer, really ought to watch it sometime.  But maybe that's the long term future, once one gains a mastery of producing phase resets in 2 channels across all the conceivable site pairs and network hubs.  I've been interested for some years in the work of Jim Hardt and Les Fehmi, who apparently base most of their efforts on creating Alpha synchrony from the back of the head (I think Occipital), around the sides, and up the midline.  From what I've read on the subject, this was the pattern found in the old meditating monk studies.  Fehmi has a device he invented that splits a single EEG channel 5 ways to allow electrode placements to train all these areas simultaneously.  

 

But here's what I was wondering:  is it possible or desirable to train bipolar at multiple sites?  Like say you use the TAG x2 design to train P3/F7 and P4/F8 as two bipolar channels simultaneously, and you could do cross frequency coupling while you're at it.  And then I wondered, what if you took a standard 4C design and set it up for SMR--assuming you know your "sweet spot" frequencies for all the sites, you could theoretically run 4 bipolar montages at once.  How crazy would that be?  I have this idea that bipolar and ILF is probably very helpful and maybe even irreplaceable in training up the resting state networks, and that might be one way to do it.  Or I suppose it could be a really bad idea.  I wouldn't try it before researching it and asking a professional first, but it occurred to me that one of you guys might already know the answer about running multiple bipolar montages.

 

Really great discussion here.  I can't contribute much atm because I don't have a lot of experience to offer yet, and it takes me approximately a year to write more than about 3 paragraphs, but I wanted at least to express how much I'm enjoying reading along.

 

Yes, you just set up 2 more channels just like the existing ones, its not too hard to figure out, it just takes a lot of time to add all of the extra inhibits and everything, although you can skip inhibits if you just want a 4-channel reward to work as soon as possible.

 

I think it is possible to train bipolar at multiple sites, in fact I dont think it would be hard to configure the designs for this. A bipolar design is basicly a difference signal, in TAGx2 you add the signals together which is the opposite, so you just need to change Expression 1, which in TAGx2 reads "In1+In2" to instead say "In1-In2" which will turn it into a difference signal. That will make a 2-channel bipolar design, so you can just scale that up to any number of channels you want.

 

I dont think that would be a dangerous thing, the Othmers use 2-channel difference signal designs I think. It would perhaps require some more knowledge as to what sites you want to train in this way, although you could just experiment with that and see what works I guess :).



#59 Candidatus

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 06:12 PM

Hi,

I would like to ask more experience members about their recommendation on TLC7 and TAG.

I'm about to place an order with brain-trainer.com (pocketneurobics.com purchase didn't work out) and I need perhaps a little help.

What should I order from this package http://brain-trainer...-combo-package/ in order to be able to succesfully run both TAG and TLC protocols? (Iam aware that I have to purchase TAG separately).

Thanks

Edited by Candidatus, 04 September 2014 - 06:13 PM.


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#60 golgi1

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 07:43 PM

I'm interested in more experiences as well.

 

I'm at a crossroad where I need to make a choice about allocating resources.

 

I can either invest in a TAGsync + Q Wiz neurofeedback setup or in something more 'traditional' (non-nfb), insomuch as that term can be applied. Either is a risk. To be honest, I'm leaning toward neurofeedback because of the control and indefiinite number of therapy sessions that it can provide, as well as the broad range of  purported applications.

 

The risk for me is the chance of it failing to do much. I'm not the only one with an eye on the money that I spend, and I will come away with egg on my face, in a big way, if I go for the nfb and it fails to have a significant effect. Whereas, if I employ a 'traditional' professional, I won't look silly if it doesn't work. To someone who doesn't understand nfb other than very superficially, and to whom I would have a hard time convincing like you or I can be convinced with evidence and research, it might seem as if I am investing a lot of money in a tech fetish and avoiding more 'legitimate' avenues to the detriment of our money.

 

Thus, more experiences will assit me in making a decision that I can better defend to myself and to others. I very much appreciate the one or two enthusiastic nfb people that we have here. At this point, the more anecdotes (positive and negative) and objective information about nfb, the better.


Edited by golgi1, 04 September 2014 - 07:48 PM.






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