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TAGsync: Operation and Discussion

tagsync theta alpha gamma synchrony training neurofeedback operation discussion

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#61 tolerant

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Posted 04 September 2014 - 09:17 PM

golgi, 

 

I don't think you made it clear what you mean by a more "traditional" alternative to neurofeedback.

 

Kind regards,

 

tolerant



#62 golgi1

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Posted 05 September 2014 - 12:21 AM

More mainstream approaches to ADHD, anxiety, PTSD, etc.



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#63 tolerant

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 11:10 PM

I've uploaded some books I had on neurofeedback and related topics here: http://www.filedropp...eurofeedbacketc


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#64 Zalmar

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Posted 06 September 2014 - 11:32 PM

I've uploaded some books I had on neurofeedback and related topics here: http://www.filedropp...eurofeedbacketc

 

Thanks ill go check them out



#65 Closer

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 12:29 AM

Folks, I'm out, NFB is not for me. My one and only goal was/is self realisation and for that I simple prefer the way I've always done it: talks, retreats, reading and meditation (Nevermind the idea of searching for it assumes you're not already it). If anyone wants my Q-wiz and BioExplorer HASP then drop me a PM and we can come to some arrangement.


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#66 golgi1

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 04:27 AM

 

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.

 

 

This is a good solution to assist with electrode placement for either NFB or a TLC7, even if you would just use the holes to mark the appropriate spots with something akin to a grease pencil. It's $45 vs $350+ for an electro-cap. After all, an electric cap is just a placement method.

 

http://bio-medical.c...ement-caps.html

 

You could also likely reuse it to hold electrodes in place, despite it officially being a one-time use placement cap. I doubt it would wear out, unless the electodes cause damage to the holes. I would guess that the "one time use" categorization would be due to inter-patient hygenic issues with the material.

 

Is it an accurate assumption that 9 electrodes (4 channels) are needed for a 4 channel TLC7?

 

If that is the case, then the electro-cap deifnitely seems to be a solution that is overkill and thus overpriced for what is needed.

 

These seem to be the best reusable electrodes that I've found. They're pricey per piece, but they are solid silver chloride that can be resurfaced and so, barring the connction wearing out, they should last many years. Also, on this website, you can get twice the number of snap electrode wires for the same price that brain-trainer is selling them (10 vs 5 wires for around $50)

 

http://63.134.192.29...=40&category=13

 

Here's another source for sintered Ag/Cl electrodes, but I found it difficult to identify the correct product with the price. One would likely need to call:

 

http://www.invivomet...linsulated.html

 

 


Edited by golgi1, 07 September 2014 - 04:51 AM.

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#67 golgi1

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Posted 07 September 2014 - 05:22 AM

 

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.

 

 

The question is if you think that a TLC7 assessment is adequate to identify such pathology, in comparison with a QEEG. I suppose that my main issue is that, other than a lack of a normed database for comparison, I don't much understand the difference between a TLC7 and a QEEG. In other words, other than perhaps less channels in use for the assessment, what would prevent a QEEG analysis expert from being able to look at a TLC7 and arrive at similar conclusions as he/she would with a QEEG?

 

I do understand how brain-trainer frames the philosophy-of-use difference between a TLC7 and QEEG. It's a nice way of de-emphasizing the importance of a normed database, and he makes some good points at least insofar as performance enhancement might be concerned . Even some QEEG experts aren't dogmatic regarding the necessity of the QEEG. http://qeegsupport.c...-brain-mapping/

 

However, I would still be interested in fleshing out the precise difference in the output of either analysis so that informed decisions could be made on a case-by-case basis.

 

Last: although I haven't a precise quote on a QEEG in my area, the information that I have thusfar gleaned does not put the initial entry fee for a TLC7 at much less than a QEEG (especially if an electro-cap is purchased). I may even be able obtain a QEEG and a report for less initial money. However, like I said, I still need to confirm. I do recognize that the TLC7 becomes much less expensive after first use. I am dubious as to whether the guy at brain-trainer (who lacks a degree) has the knowledge to analyze the TLC7 for pathology (or a QEEG for that matter) to a comparatively 'good enough' degree of skill as a trained QEEG expert (especially an MD or neurology PhD) would. He has about $1000 dollars worth of training for sale, in his advanced training section of his website, that ostensibly teaches someone to read and create treatment plans from the TLC7. It leaves me wondering if that training is representative of more-or-less the extent of his knowledge, and therefore leaves me questioning the value of the TLC7 for anything resembling a medical analysis. The TLC7 is and forever will be only as valuable as the interpretation of the most skilled person who can intepret it. How many people can currently claim to be able to derive truly actionable accurate analysis of potential pathology from a TLC7? If that number is low, and perhaps even limited to a single person, is the TLC7 worth the investment for anything other than potential performance enhancement?


Edited by golgi1, 07 September 2014 - 05:34 AM.

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#68 nootz

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Posted 11 September 2014 - 07:43 PM

I second golgi1's thoughts on getting more reviews. I appreciate the time and effort of those who have posted, but perhaps for the same reasons it is hard to be perfectly objective, I think it would be really helpful to get the opinions of friends and relatives of those who have the protocol in order to get their opinions. Preferably w/o them having been exposed with any information for or against, and a few questions if they feel differently after.

 

unfortunately the holy grail status is granted to too many things, before the novelty wears off, however since this

is a very costly investment more careful consideration is required.



#69 OpaqueMind

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Posted 06 October 2014 - 09:23 AM

I found a fascinating chapter in an ebook, describing the psychological dynamics of beliefs, which relate somewhat to (though greatly expand upon) my musings in the other neurofeedback thread, as well as describing their relation to rationality, perception, dissociation and mental illness.

It is best understood in the context of part of TAGsyncs mechanism of action - phase/network resets, and in relation to this paper (http://europepmc.org...ct/MED/23042898) which describes network resets in the medial prefrontal cortex (a key area of the default mode network, a network which we specifically target in TAGsync training) as being correlated with belief revision and increased environmental updating.

Here is the book in question, and the relevant chapter starts on page 123 - http://books.google....ractors&f=false

It is also interesting to note the list of a variety of mental illnesses which these self-perpetuating systems, in their most pernicious format, are related to. Quite possibly TAGsync would be effective in their remediation; these include PTSD (as is already confirmed;TAGsync is used professionally and clinically with traumatised war vets, with great success), schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, and any other disorders or problems caused dissociated memory networks or subpersonality hypertrophy. I suspect this fragmentary process of neurocognitive systems becoming self-contained and self-producing ie dissociated to be a key underlying factor in the development of a huge number of mental illnesses, including the most common ones such as anxiety, depression, OCD and so on. If dissociation of neurocognitive structures plays a key role in mental illness, one could envision a potential future quantification of mental illness/health based on the degree of dissociation/integration of neural networks. To be clear, TAgsync works directly at their integration.

Edited by OpaqueMind, 06 October 2014 - 09:25 AM.


#70 Crowstream

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Posted 07 October 2014 - 09:46 AM

I found a fascinating chapter in an ebook, describing the psychological dynamics of beliefs, which relate somewhat to (though greatly expand upon) my musings in the other neurofeedback thread, as well as describing their relation to rationality, perception, dissociation and mental illness.

It is best understood in the context of part of TAGsyncs mechanism of action - phase/network resets, and in relation to this paper (http://europepmc.org...ct/MED/23042898) which describes network resets in the medial prefrontal cortex (a key area of the default mode network, a network which we specifically target in TAGsync training) as being correlated with belief revision and increased environmental updating.

Here is the book in question, and the relevant chapter starts on page 123 - http://books.google....ractors&f=false

It is also interesting to note the list of a variety of mental illnesses which these self-perpetuating systems, in their most pernicious format, are related to. Quite possibly TAGsync would be effective in their remediation; these include PTSD (as is already confirmed;TAGsync is used professionally and clinically with traumatised war vets, with great success), schizophrenia, multiple personality disorder, and any other disorders or problems caused dissociated memory networks or subpersonality hypertrophy. I suspect this fragmentary process of neurocognitive systems becoming self-contained and self-producing ie dissociated to be a key underlying factor in the development of a huge number of mental illnesses, including the most common ones such as anxiety, depression, OCD and so on. If dissociation of neurocognitive structures plays a key role in mental illness, one could envision a potential future quantification of mental illness/health based on the degree of dissociation/integration of neural networks. To be clear, TAgsync works directly at their integration.

 

Cool book! I think there are some great insights there, it reminds me of some of the things I read in this book (http://www.amazon.co...al neurobiology), interpersonal neurobiology sounds a bit dense and scientific I suppose but I think it was actually well-written and understandable so I can recommend it.

 

Interpersonal neurobiology is an interesting new hybrid of different fields like psychology, neuroscience, complex systems, meditation, etc. For example it has been found that the same brain circuitry used in infant-caretaker attachment is also used in "mindful awareness". Basicly when the caretaker "attunes" to the childs internal state it is very similar to an adult being attuned to its own state. The capacity for mindful awareness is very much dependent on infant attachment experiences, I think this lays the foundation for emotional regulation which in turn effects a persons belief system.

 

A belief system may be an attempt to cope with ones own emotional regulation abilities (in part of course, there are many other components), this can lead to some pretty complicated belief systems. The ending of the chapter there has an interesting connection to this I think: "One sees belief-system attractors grow within subpersonality attractors and spawn new belief-system attractors in the common memory, generating a hierarchy of chaotic pattern dynamics - all to counteract the runaway self-perpetuating growth of a single belief of the utmost simplicity: "I am unloved.""

 

I see TAG Sync coming in to this as an alternative way to learn emotional regulation and mindful awareness, this is done by actually entering and experiencing these states using the neurofeedback system.

 

The network resets in the medial prefrontal cortex is also very interesting of course and I think TAG Sync plays a part in this.

 

This is what Daniel Siegel (author of the interpersonal neurobiology book) has to say about integration: "The basic proposal of interpersonal neurobiology is that integration is the fundamental mechanism of health and well-being. Integration is the linkage of differentiated parts of a system."

 

This integration could occur in the individual but also in families and even societies. I think this is what we are growing towards, increased differentiation and integration, leading to a more complex world. I think neurofeedback will play an important part in this evolutionary process as we can now accelerate integration, starting in the individual but in turn causing self-perpetuating ripple effects on the rest of society.



#71 hza

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 08:56 AM

Finally got experimenting with TAG again in the last week or two, and I have a question or two about the instructions posted at the beginning of the thread.  

 

Here's the section I'm wondering about:

 

 

 

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

 

Here's the problem that I'm seeing:  In my own TAG designs, they default so that BF1 is set to 3-6 Hz, and BF2 defaults at 8-12 Hz.  The actual frequency difference isn't really all that important to me, but what strikes me is that the instructions as written here effectively reverse the sequence of bandwidths in the default design--that is, by default BF1 trains Theta and BF2 is for Alpha.  

 

Now as long as you're working on training Theta and Alpha sync, this is no problem, and in fact makes no difference.  But when you get to Step 10:

 

 

10. Change BF2 to 38-42Hz (Gamma) and adjust Threshold Manual Targets 1 and 2 as per step 5.

 

You've made a very fundamental change here:  you're training to synchronize Alpha and Gamma, whereas according to the default design you should be trying to sync Theta and Gamma.  Potentially, this is a huge difference.  For one thing, Alpha and Gamma are much closer in terms of frequency and so possibly easier to sync, and for another thing, I've found in my own personal experimentation anyway that Alpha is quite easy to increase, but Theta is a real bugger. 

 

I'm not 100% sure on this, but in the demo I got with DD back when he still used to talk to me (he's apparently stopped answering all my emails now, btw), the only change he had me make to the Bandpass filters was to change BF2 from Alpha to Gamma, so I'm fairly confident that Theta is a training target at all times. 

 

So there's that.

 

On the subject of Theta, it's really killing me.  I can't get mine to increase pretty much at all.  I can make Alpha go up pretty consistently with awareness meditation--can even do it with eyes open in a Vipassana sort of half-lidded soft gaze at about 45 degrees down attitude--but Theta just does its own thing and won't increase or even budge, even though my internal state certainly seems to shift about and get quiet for stretches of time.  

 

I'm wondering how to address this.  In particular I'd like to experiment with setting an auto threshold on the inhibits tones for when Theta and Alpha slip below 80%.  I'm mindful of dangers of causing Theta spikes in certain areas of the brain, but at the same time it occurs to me that if you do an in-house TAG session with a nfb provider, she/he must be constantly adjusting your feedback levels manually anyway, so as long as you set an alarm to curtail activity above a certain amplitude, I don't see how this is effectively any different.  In fact it's one of the biggest problems of self-training with TAG that you obviously can only set an 80% baseline, because any movement, mouse-clicking, or even looking at the graphs will wreck your state of synchrony by calling your non-meditative mind into action. 

 

I've done a little playing around with Bioexplorer but I haven't yet figured out how to do stuff like this.  At the same time I don't think it can be that hard.  What do the rest of you think about this idea?  Any pointers how to do it?



#72 Crowstream

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 02:57 PM

Hey hza! Glad to hear you got started with TAG Sync again :) .

 

I think you are right about there being a difference between alpha-gamma and theta-gamma, I definitely think there is. It is probably ok to do alpha-gamma also but there is probably some point to doing theta-gamma. The order of the frequencies dont matter I think, you can run them on BF1, 2, or whatever really I think, if you want theta-gamma then just change the alpha channel instead.

 

I think it is ok to use auto-thresholds on the reward channels, the main thing about avoiding auto-thresholds is with the inhibits because there you want to be able to pick up large increases of amplitude in specific frequency bands, which might signal a "kindled cortex". That is not an issue with the rewards so I will often use auto-thresholds on the reward and manual settings on the inhibits. I have found now that my inhibit activity is usually very stable and similar across many sessions whereas my alpha levels for example can change quite a bit so its easier to use auto-thresholds for the rewards I think.

 

I have also found that alpha is much easier to change compared to theta, I can simply close my eyes and there will usually be a large increase in alpha, or I can change my attention to increase/decrease alpha (I find a focused attention decreases alpha and an open attention increases it), also thinking will decrease alpha and feeling my body and breath will increase it...

 

For learning greater control of theta I think a good tool is HRV biofeedback, a state of high HRV is kind of similar to a state of high theta-alpha in the brainwaves I think. There is quite a bit of research now on how high HRV will create heart-brain coherence and the heart will actually tune the brainwaves. So in general anything that increases HRV will also increase theta and alpha I think. The techniques I use for this is heart-focused attention (while retaining a general open field of attention which can be tricky), I also try to integrate this with my breath which will be deep and diaphragmatic but also trying to breathe into the heart area. Heartmath has done a lot of research on this so its probably best to read one of their guides for creating heart-brain coherence.

 

Another thing I have found is that theta brainwaves seem to be correlated with visualization, or sort of "seeing with the minds eye", its like the hypnagogic state we enter before and after sleep but I guess you may have heard of that. I am not sure if you can purposefully try to imagine things and that would increase theta, but perhaps it could. I usually take increased visions as a sign that I am entering a deep theta state.



#73 hza

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 05:13 PM

Hey Crowstream, thanks for the pointers.  

 

I think it is ok to use auto-thresholds on the reward channels, the main thing about avoiding auto-thresholds is with the inhibits because there you want to be able to pick up large increases of amplitude in specific frequency bands, which might signal a "kindled cortex". That is not an issue with the rewards so I will often use auto-thresholds on the reward and manual settings on the inhibits. I have found now that my inhibit activity is usually very stable and similar across many sessions whereas my alpha levels for example can change quite a bit so its easier to use auto-thresholds for the rewards I think.

 

In general I think I know the difference between an inhibit and a reward, but in the context of this specific design I could use some extra clarification.  Now in the Bandpass Filters, you have two bars, one that sounds an alarm if you drop below a minimum level of activity (the guideline is to be above minimum about 80% of the time), and one set at least 3x the minimum...Now if you exceed the upper bars simultaneously you get a "reward" tone indicating a phase reset, if my understanding of the design is essentially correct.  Between the warning tone for low activity and the reward tone of raising both channels, it can be easy to get mixed up on which is a "reward" and which an "inhibit."  What I'd like to do is alter the design so that the lower bar automatically adjusts itself so that I no longer have to worry about trying to keep the warnings active 20% of the time.  The upper limits can stay manual.  All the bins on the right set with specific inhibits can/should stay manual too (my activity there is all very low anyway, I think as a result of my previous work with TLC).  Is that what you're talking about here?  What specific adjustments in Bioexplorer do I need to make for that to happen?

 

I agree with you, the order Theta/Alpha Alpha/Theta in itself is totally unimportant, as long as you make sure you're syncing Gamma with the right freq in the second phase.  I strongly suspect that if you can keep Theta up and raise Gamma, then Alpha will most likely be along for the ride anyway without your needing to monitor it.  So I wanted to point that out for others that it's important to be aware which bands are being synced together.

 

I learned a lot about generating Alpha with Open Focus techniques when I used to work with Fehmi's instructional audios (really need to dig those back up for another round--actually I was thinking it might be a good idea to have the guided visualization running in the background anyway while doing TAG), but what's odd to me is that I've done a TON of HRV training (hours at a stretch sometimes) so it seems like Theta should be no big deal for me.  I'd heard that about Theta and visualization while approaching dream states and actually considered trying to visualize landscapes and faces during a TAG session, so I guess that's a good strategy to try too.  Most of the other stuff you've described I've already done with Open Focus (including a lot of visualization and "feeling into" the space surrounding and including the heart) and tried variously during TAG to see what kind of activity that drives, but probably I've been too interested in the results while simultaneously trying to maintain or reach a meditative state.  Tricky work, as you noted.

 

 



#74 Crowstream

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Posted 14 October 2014 - 08:40 PM

As far as I know it is not possible to put just the lower bar on auto, you have to turn the whole thing (high and low) to auto or manual. The design is a bit confusing, a "silent reward" doesnt make much sense to me :D.

 

Theta is just hard I suppose :), I am experimenting with brainwave stimulating light and sound, like binaural beats and mind machines (which produce flickering lights), it has been pretty powerful so far in combination with everything else.

 

I also found a track of shamanic drumming (https://www.youtube....h?v=yzb8zN9AbmM) which is supposed to help you go into a trance state, I think it helped me get into some deeper states.

 

Now I am experimenting with this (https://www.youtube....h?v=OaEKMJxmZQ0), I noticed some pretty powerful effects :D, I used this for feedback in my alpha channel and it got my alpha levels really high pretty effortlessly :). I am not quite sure what if any effects it may have on theta levels...



#75 hza

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 12:08 PM

As far as I know it is not possible to put just the lower bar on auto, you have to turn the whole thing (high and low) to auto or manual. The design is a bit confusing, a "silent reward" doesnt make much sense to me :D.

 

Yeah, I tried hitting the auto button under one of the Bp Filters and it brought the upper bar down to just over the activity level, so that wasn't very helpful.  Bioexplorer seems pretty customizable though so I expect there's a way to make this happen.  "Silent reward" gave me trouble in the beginning too because my prior experience with nfb I think makes my brain seek feedback, so it would take silence as a bad sign and try to generate more tones, which unfortunately aren't intended as rewards.  I played with some of the other variations like mp3 audio feedback, but music and etc isn't really a good background for this kind of meditative state either.  

 

As for Theta, I'm really only concerned with increasing it enough to get through a successful session with TAG.  This obviously hasn't been a problem for you as you've had lots of success with your sessions, so whatever you've been doing is probably what I should be trying.  If it's essentially awareness meditation and its variations, then I think I can handle that.  It gives me something to practice anyway.

 

If I get anywhere with Bioexplorer I'll let you know.



#76 Rolf Rau

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Posted 15 October 2014 - 07:14 PM

Hey OpaqueMind ! 

I saw your posts in the bulletproof forum. I searched for cheap biofeedback alternatives and saw your recommendations about tagsync. I am hooked. My main motivation to start with nfb in general is anxiety/mental blocks in different parts of my life, but especially in relationships, socializing, girls. One goal of mine, as stupid as it sounds, is to approach girls fearlessly and confident. And to have the choice with WHOM i have a relationsship. Sometimes i'm pushing trough the anxiety and still approach girls, for example in clubs, but it doesn't go very well. Whatever you feel, she feels. Maybe i'm just lazy, but it seems to me that this is very uneffective time-cost-wise, IF you have mental blockages. One would think it'll be wiser to remove these barriers first. So that you are free to do what you want, without anxiety. TagSync should help me in this regard, or am i wrong?  

Greetings, Rolf



#77 Candidatus

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 12:30 PM

Hey guys,

 

a question about TLC7. I just managed to install Bioexplorer, I have an ecap and I have ordered the ABCD service program from brain-trainer which was recommended to me. Does anyone have any experience with that? How long does it take to receive the protocols and if it is straightforward or not? I have not received any instructions yet so for I´m in complete darkness...

 

Also, anyone of you looking at the TLC7 autoplan? I do not fully understan what it is but from what  I now so far, you should be able to make QEEG based training sessions for yourself without professional help, automatically. Is that right? http://brain-trainer...with-auto-plan/

 

I am totally confused right now, waiting for feedback from brain-trainer. But they can be confusing as well. So if anyone of you have some insights, it would be very much appreciated.

 

 



#78 hza

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 01:37 PM

I don't have the ecap, but from what I understand they have a video demo that takes you through all its functions and doing the assessment data gathering for the ABCD service.  It's been a while but iirc it took something under 2 weeks for me to get my plan; might've been quicker than that but I was so eager to get started it seemed to take a long time.  When you get your report you get another short video that explains how to read the training plan--hopefully you got a design subscription because you'll be needing Bioexplorer designs to follow your training plan.  I missed out on that little detail and had to add the subscription later.

 

The new TLC7ap (as they call it) will be able to take the data gathered in the assessment and automatically draw up a plan for you.  Afaik nobody aside from testers (I'm not one) has any experience with that yet, because the function is not 100% ready yet apparently, which is why the app is being offered at a discount this month (until when hasn't been announced afaik).  

 

Brain-trainer has been very supportive and generally very quick since I've been training with them.  This month may be a little hectic because Pete is on the road doing conferences, and something else I can't remember is going on too, but you should be hearing back from them with your instructions soon enough.

 

Hey guys,

 

a question about TLC7. I just managed to install Bioexplorer, I have an ecap and I have ordered the ABCD service program from brain-trainer which was recommended to me. Does anyone have any experience with that? How long does it take to receive the protocols and if it is straightforward or not? I have not received any instructions yet so for I´m in complete darkness...

 

Also, anyone of you looking at the TLC7 autoplan? I do not fully understan what it is but from what  I now so far, you should be able to make QEEG based training sessions for yourself without professional help, automatically. Is that right? http://brain-trainer...with-auto-plan/

 

I am totally confused right now, waiting for feedback from brain-trainer. But they can be confusing as well. So if anyone of you have some insights, it would be very much appreciated.

 



#79 Candidatus

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Posted 20 October 2014 - 01:58 PM

@hza Thank you for all that info. So basically you are saying that ABCD has the same outcome as TLC7ap, only that the ap is much faster but still buggy? Or is there any other fundamental difference that I miss?

 

By a chance I have the design subscription, order with the QuickStart package. Ecap was recommended to me by Pete also for general training, so I went for it, but initially wanted just electrodes.Hopefully it can last those 300 advertised sessions. I´ll have a lookatthe videos.

 

Btw. have you used Life Game or something else for HEG training (I read the thread on Bulletproof  but can´t remember)



#80 OpaqueMind

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 09:32 AM

Hey OpaqueMind ! 

I saw your posts in the bulletproof forum. I searched for cheap biofeedback alternatives and saw your recommendations about tagsync. I am hooked. My main motivation to start with nfb in general is anxiety/mental blocks in different parts of my life, but especially in relationships, socializing, girls. One goal of mine, as stupid as it sounds, is to approach girls fearlessly and confident. And to have the choice with WHOM i have a relationsship. Sometimes i'm pushing trough the anxiety and still approach girls, for example in clubs, but it doesn't go very well. Whatever you feel, she feels. Maybe i'm just lazy, but it seems to me that this is very uneffective time-cost-wise, IF you have mental blockages. One would think it'll be wiser to remove these barriers first. So that you are free to do what you want, without anxiety. TagSync should help me in this regard, or am i wrong?  

Greetings, Rolf

 

Hi Rolf, nice to digitally meet you.

 

TAGsync is indeed very effective at removing mental blockages and decreasing both the intensity and baseline level of anxiety. To me this has been one of it's most subjectively apparent effects. The reduction of anxiety is not slight - it is near total. To give a picture of the difference; I used to have massive general and social anxiety, always tense and very often avoidant of people and highly self-conscious in their presence. It's like I watched and judged myself from a dissociated position, which made it difficult for me to enjoy social contact. I would never approach people, never initiate conversation, never be jokey and carefree in my interactions. That avoidant streak has been with me since I was a child, but no longer.

 

After doing TAGsync, ILF and SMR training for a while, that has all changed (and is still changing). Now I feel like one of the most outgoing person in my social group - there is no anxiety when I go to speak, no unnecessarily high levels of self-consciousness, no wondering if my jokes will be laughed at. I just get into the flow with it, open myself to the situation and my friendships have become closer and my presence much warmer because of it. There is no fear of judgement or rejection or looking foolish. I can just be myself. And that lets other's know that they can be too. It's so freeing :)

 

These same effects will carry over into meeting girls too, although it may require a little more work with the protocols to squash that anxiety, since it is generally more pronounced. Though I have no doubt that they can do so. If TAGsync can take us all the way to embodying the neurodynamics of enlightened states of meditation, on which the design was partially based, then we can expect the complete falling away of anxiety. Zero. No fear. This is what happens when the self-concept falls away - for what is there to fear and who is there to fear it when there is no you separate from the world? And even if it can only take us part of the way, a progressive erosion of anxiety is still experienced.



#81 umop 3pisdn

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Posted 22 October 2014 - 10:37 PM

Lately I'm thinking there's something to a wideband inhibit approach just in and of itself for training attention. HEG training is supposed to be good for this as well, but I find that the latency of the signal doesn't really help as much for observing or diffusing individual thoughts as they arise. I think HEG training is good for brain fitness subserving faculties like concentration, but cultivating mental quietude on a moment by moment basis seems to work better with EEG feedback just because the temporal resolution is better.

 

I know peak achievement trainer basically uses a 0-40Hz inhibit for training concentration, though this approach can be problematic because lower frequency brainwaves are much higher amplitude than higher frequency brainwaves, so you can lower the general amplitude in a range of 0-40Hz and get a lot of fast beta activity or beta spindling which we know isn't good. The TAGsync designs use multiple inhibits and I've long thought that there was something to using only those as a mode of training, by making them more challenging. I even remember reading a blog post by the Othmers in 2006 or so where they discussed multiple inhibits (which is where Dailey picked it up from) where they suggest that this is probably the basis of Neuroptimal training. I don't know how accurate that really is, but it makes sense for an approach aiming to smooth out 'rogue excursions' and that is sufficiently simple in the way that we know training with Neuroptimal to be, that a lot of narrow band inhibits would fit the bill at least in a general sense.

 

So I've been using the inhibits present in the TAGsync designs alongside a 0-40Hz broadband inhibit, the former alerting me to thoughts as they arise and the latter registering a more general success in lowering wideband amplitude and it seems to work quite well. The multiple inhibit bins do most of the work but it's also good having a more general kind of feedback that's meant to be 'positive' or suggest success in training just for the sake of motivation. So if you guys are interested in pursuing a kind of meditation concerned only with observing thoughts as they arise and adverting your awareness to mental quietude, this seems like a pretty good approach. My reasoning for it right now is that success on this basis will allow the phenomena that TAGsync trains to emerge more clearly without a layer of mental chatter to occlude it.


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#82 hza

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 02:56 PM

 

Lately I'm thinking...

 

umop, tons of food for thought here.  There's a lot I don't understand too well, such as why it would be good to reduce all activity from 0-40Hz (seems like a bit of a baby/bathwater approach on the face of it), or if this is what's referred to in the nfb world as a "squash,"--basically I'm way behind the game in terms of the nuts and bolts of EEG nfb, but I'm going to set that aside for a moment to see if some of my questions make any sense to you:

 

Lately I'm thinking there's something to a wideband inhibit approach just in and of itself for training attention. HEG training is supposed to be good for this as well, but I find that the latency of the signal doesn't really help as much for observing or diffusing individual thoughts as they arise. I think HEG training is good for brain fitness subserving faculties like concentration, but cultivating mental quietude on a moment by moment basis seems to work better with EEG feedback just because the temporal resolution is better.

 

I don't know what kind of latency issues you're used to hearing about with HEG, unless maybe you're referring to pIR-based systems, in which case I guess that would make sense.  But with all the nIR systems since the advent of the Peanut amp, you're looking at a temporal resolution rivaling or equaling what you get with EEG systems--particularly with the new PN line and the Q-WIZ, which processes HEG and EEG the same.  In the documentation that came with my Peanut (which I've had since Feb 2013) Jon Toomim (I think--the notes are unsigned) notes that the old generation of PN Pendant amps used a number of filters that slowed down processing significantly, but that's not an issue with Peanut (aka Upgraded Focus Trainer) nor, I assume, PN's newer amps from last year on.  

 

Can't speak to training quietude per se, but I can note here briefly that Brain-trainer has opened up a new avenue of training with its LIFE game, which (if I understand correctly) pays attention to defocusing exercises and focusing alike.  Defocusing is very much like Les Fehmi's concept of Open Focus, which is probably better explained to anyone interested by just looking it up, but briefly put is pretty much the opposite of single-pointed attention.  Mentally speaking, it feels pretty quiet too.

 

I know peak achievement trainer basically uses a 0-40Hz inhibit for training concentration, though this approach can be problematic because lower frequency brainwaves are much higher amplitude than higher frequency brainwaves, so you can lower the general amplitude in a range of 0-40Hz and get a lot of fast beta activity or beta spindling which we know isn't good.

 

I don't get the mechanics of this:  if the Beta frequencies are all lower amplitude, then it seems intuitive that they would tend to respond more strongly to a general inhibit across all freqs than the higher amplitude freqs at the bottom end--assuming I guess that the inhibits are based on lowering signal strength more or less uniformly, e.g. drop everything by 5u.  You'd think if anything that activity in the upper bands could theoretically drop to zero by the time the stronger signals reduced to half.  Does that come through clearly?  Reads like mud to me.  What I'm trying to say is, if the Beta signals are weaker, then why would a general amplitude reduction result in more activity there?

 

I know peak achievement trainer basically uses a 0-40Hz inhibit for training concentration

 

You do?  All I know is that is a hella expensive system, as one-piece "secret sauce" things tend to be...There are a number of these that I'd like to learn the operating principles behind, just to see if the price could possibly be justified.  A generic 0-40Hz inhibit (like I said above, something I don't well understand) is not unlike stuff I've seen in my $100 TLC design package.

 

So I've been using the inhibits present in the TAGsync designs alongside a 0-40Hz broadband inhibit, the former alerting me to thoughts as they arise and the latter registering a more general success in lowering wideband amplitude and it seems to work quite well. The multiple inhibit bins do most of the work but it's also good having a more general kind of feedback that's meant to be 'positive' or suggest success in training just for the sake of motivation. So if you guys are interested in pursuing a kind of meditation concerned only with observing thoughts as they arise and adverting your awareness to mental quietude, this seems like a pretty good approach. My reasoning for it right now is that success on this basis will allow the phenomena that TAGsync trains to emerge more clearly without a layer of mental chatter to occlude it.

 

Setting aside the 0-40Hz broadband inhibit, what really strikes me about what you say here is that I've never needed any of the inhibits set up in TAG, except on one occasion when I went long trying to sync Theta and Gamma (probably 10-15 minutes) and got enough heightened activity in the first inhibit to throw an alarm.  I assumed at the time that pushing Gamma caused some bleed-over effect into raising Beta in an unwanted frequency, but I just went over all the bins in the MONx1 AUD design (which I assume is set the same by default as in all the other variations) and I see now that the extra activity was in the Delta range (1-4Hz, which technically crosses well over into low Theta depending on the wave form).  My Beta activity is consistently low--like less than 5u low, at pretty much all times.  If I sat there with just the feedback from the Delta and Beta inhibits running, I'd be pretty damn bored.

 

I think maybe this has to do with my other EEG training from my TLC plan.  Most of what I've been doing over the last year (and what seems to be fairly typical) has involved inhibiting activity in the 2-9HZ and 19-38Hz ranges, rewarding Alpha sometimes, and a bit of work with multiband coherence.  I know I used to have a lot of excessive Beta and high Beta--I'm learning to read my assessment from last year a little better now, and I can see that all my numbers were jacked except high Beta on the right side which seems to have been mostly normal.  After working for about a year to rein that activity in, I can make a few observations of my subjective internal experience, and I have a lot--A LOT--less mental chatter, whether trying to meditate or just get around in daily life, and also less rumination, less circular thinking, less susceptibility to getting caught in endless (usually negative) thought loops, or I get out faster now than before...I used to get songs stuck in my head all the time (it still happens, sometimes the same one for days, but it's less often than before, and when it does happen these days it feels more like something working itself out).  There's a constant stratum of internal tension, noise, simmering irritation seeping into anger, etc, that has been removed.  It's like if my brain had teeth, they used to be constantly grinding, and I find that's not the case anymore.  I think that has to do with all the extra Beta activity, or at least that must have been a big part of it.

 

The reason I think this may be significant is because of the way this low Beta activity registers during my TAG training--essentially, I don't have any activity there worth talking about.  And I do have a fairly quiet internal meditative experience (well, comparatively anyway...I still get bored and get caught up in thinking, but it's a quieter, less compulsive, less insistent kind of voice, if that makes sense).  I thought this was normal until you mentioned training with TAG just using the inhibits for improving meditative awareness.  Now I'm interested in seeing if I'm the only one that doesn't get a lot of use out of the inhibits setup in TAG.  I took a screen shot, let's see if I can get it to post correctly...OK, this is from about 12 minutes into a session, to demonstrate that my levels are low even after an extended period training.  You can see though that the Theta and Alpha are not particularly active either, though:

medium.jpg

 

Is that similar to what you guys get?

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Candidatus - Posted 20 October 2014 - 09:58 PM

@hza Thank you for all that info. So basically you are saying that ABCD has the same outcome as TLC7ap, only that the ap is much faster but still buggy? Or is there any other fundamental difference that I miss?

By a chance I have the design subscription, order with the QuickStart package. Ecap was recommended to me by Pete also for general training, so I went for it, but initially wanted just electrodes.Hopefully it can last those 300 advertised sessions. I´ll have a lookatthe videos.

Btw. have you used Life Game or something else for HEG training (I read the thread on Bulletproof but can´t remember)

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ABCD is a service in which B-T looks at your assessment and creates a training plan and report for a fee; you pay for each report separately.  The new app is supposed to generate the report and plan automatically (and it has other features for professional trainers that I don't really understand yet), although last I heard the auto-plan feature isn't quite finished yet so the app is selling as-is at a discount, and when the autoplan is ready you'll be able to download the update at no extra charge.  Basically you can pay about $600 now and have unlimited automatic reports (probably for a lifetime; B-T seems to have a universal free upgrade policy for their various services and packages) or you can pay $1xx per report on an as-needed basis.  You can probably expect some burps and hiccups with the new app for a while, but then again who knows, they've been ironing out the kinks for at least the last year, so maybe it'll be relatively seamless and error-free.

 

I wish I had an ecap, that's all I can say.  Oh, I wish I could afford one--I can say that too.

 

I don't use the LIFE game, but I've been doing HEG training by trying to make the video go backwards as well as forward on demand.  I need to update the thread over at BP.

 

I'm not a big law-and-order internet type, but in the interest of keeping this thread on topic for the sake of everybody else, if anyone wants to ask questions about TLC or other non-TAG stuff that I can answer, just pm them to me for now until I can get a thread set up for that kind of thing.  I contacted the mods about a TLC thread because I didn't want to look like I was spamming the forum with stuff promoting a particular company, and I've been told I can open a thread but it needs to go in the Retailer/product section...I don't know if I want to do that either, so I might end up posting a thread over at Bulletproof and linking it here...whichever way I go, I'll post the link when the time comes.  Anyway feel free to pm with questions until then.


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#83 OpaqueMind

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 08:08 PM

Hey hz, my beta levels also stick around at 0-5hz. Based on my understanding of systems operating at criticality, which should reflect the pattern of 1/f scaling across frequencies, and crowstreams' reports that his beta activity initially shot through the roof during the first part of his training and then later stabilised at roughly the 1/f pattern, I think that our levels are somewhat pathological or at least not optimal. Though I'm not entirely sure, because at the same time I am aware that we want to specifically curve excess beta activity. I am also doubly confused because beta levels are included as one of the default frequency settings on the TAG screens, though Douglas warned me to be careful about using those. What this means I'm not exactly sure, perhaps he means they are safe to use but during use we should pay extra special attention to the inhibit bins? I'm extremely wary of trying this out because of potential seizure activity, as you warned before hz. Perhaps the best way is to continue with TAGsync and then when we've maximized all other parameters - Theta/Alpha/Gamma/Delta sync and all their various couplings, then if beta levels are still not up to a 1/f organisation then we could work on beta sync then, as the control networks and feedback loops in the brain will be much more holistically integrated and so be more effective at curbing potentially negative excess activity.

 

Crow, if you're still active in this thread, could you send us a screenshot of your typical beta activity in the inhibit bins for comparison?


Edited by OpaqueMind, 24 October 2014 - 08:11 PM.


#84 hza

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 08:37 PM

Hey OM, one other thing I discovered recently is that Beta and Alpha can't really coexist.  I found this over at the B-T FAQ section (which is rather extensive) today:

 

Alpha Beta Relationship

 

Beta and alpha are antagonists.  A neuron not involved in a task can resonate to the brain’s alpha generators.  A neuron performing a task produces beta.  It can’t do both at once.  As you are able to release the fast activity, the alpha may start up, or you can train it up.

 

If increasing beta does not decrease alpha, this is an indication that the brain is under-aroused. When beta rises and alpha falls (or vice-versa), brain activation is in a good range.

 

It’s fine to use something like 19-38 or 23-38 Hz inhibits and 6-13 or 9-13 rewards, but don’t be surprised if the “reward” band doesn’t go up–or even goes down.   You are asking the brain to pat its head and rub its belly at the same time. (re:  training down beta and up alpha at t3/t4)

 

So it kinda looks as though when you're producing measurably higher Alpha activity, then naturally Beta measured in the same region should drop; and if you played around with just reining in your Beta activity and did it in a meditative sort of way, then you could also cause Alpha to increase that way too. IOW I don't know that it's any indication that something's wrong if Beta activity is low.

 

I admit I'm a little in the dark about the whole 1/f relationship. I don't know if Beta is supposed to follow that curve, or if it just reflects the maximum allowable activity in any particular frequency band--the latter case has been my assumption, but I don't base that on anything other than the observation that my own brain activity apparently doesn't fall into that pattern. Maybe it should.

 

I heard back from Dailey last week. He said that a lot of people do use auto thresholds although he personally doesn't recommend it (I'm about 95% sure he means in respect to the TAG frequencies). I finally figured out how to change the thresholds to maintain a steady 80% and now I feel like a dummy bc it's dead easy, but as Crowstream mentioned, it wrecks your rewards for tracking phase resets. I think it should be pretty easy to add another BioExplorer object dedicated for tracking those, although I'll have to find room for it on the screen somewhere.

 

Do check out those B-T FAQS. Tons of info in there, even days' worth of reading, from the looks of things.



#85 umop 3pisdn

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Posted 24 October 2014 - 10:33 PM

hza my spectrum analyzer doesn't look like that at all. Going from memory there's a fair bit of SMR, then a gap until and encompassing about 20Hz, with moderate activity until it's actively suppressed, and a lot more Alpha and Theta. Actually for the first while when I was training TAGsync and hadn't figured out the thresholds yet, my beta activity would increase in parallel with alpha and theta. In retrospect I would always become fairly manic after those sessions, so it's probably fair to say I fall somewhere into the beta sensitivity/excitable cortex group.

 

Then when I figured out the inhibits I overcompensated, and I'd turn the high beta thresholds to like 1.2uv or something and the inhibitory tone would play every few seconds, when I figured out how to make it shut up, and that would be only for a few cycles, I would experience it as a protracted 'gap' between thoughts and it was a bit of a gestalt for me. I realized that I had this low level discursive activity going on that felt basically like the equivalent of someone sitting in a chair and having to shift their butt in their seat every few seconds. The thoughts didn't really have any particular content, which was why it was hard to notice them in the first place, but there'd be a kind of movement or mental restlessness I guess. For me I realized that the inhibit bins worked quite well as a 'thought detector'. I don't really know why that is though, I'm not really convinced that 'beta = thought' or anything so simplistic, but the result seems to be mental quietude and piti or absorptive joy emerges more easily than normal, it seems to point to or suggest a kind of deficiency that I had in my own concentrative/tranquility meditation practice for observing and diffusing thoughts.

 

As for the latency of the HEG signal, I was mostly going from my experience with a peanut nIR unit. I don't know if I have the best understanding of my own criticism, though, because really my only observation was that I found it hard to use for training concentration and I often felt like I didn't really know what I was doing. The signal seemed meaningful and not just noise, but I would try and try and I'd never really figure out why it would work better sometimes and not others. But it might just be that HEG training is really vigorous, HEG training requires a fair deal of effort so it might be that in applying effort I was also giving energy to distracted thoughts and not realizing it. So then maybe it's not the latency of the signal but the complexity of the signal not giving me enough indication to realize what I was doing right and wrong.

 

I do plan on getting the LIFE game at some point. I keep intending to go for the TLC assessment, and I'm sure I have some degree of hypo-frontality and hyper-temporality, so I'm sure some kind of training like that would be included in my results.

 

As for the mechanics of the wide inhibit, the idea is just that the wide inhibit bin is undiscriminating, it looks at the amplitude of all brainwaves in a range of 0-40Hz, so it will respond to any general reduction in amplitude. So if I have problems with beta activity, it's just not going to catch it because it would be lost in all of the other activity. But it's not really intended to do so much, I just wanted to have a crude 'reward' feedback so I have both carrot and stick, since the narrow inhibit bins are all stick. In a way it's not really that important. It's also why I don't worry about inhibiting alpha or theta or whatever, because it's not a discriminating inhibit, so alpha or theta don't necessarily have to be reduced at all.

 

You're right these often get called Squash protocols. What's interesting is that some people read them as an increase in activity. The rationale being that 'brainwaves' are the product of large assemblies of neurons firing together, and on this basis they may be interpreted at least sometimes as being the result of thalamo-cortical timing loops, and so 'brainwaves' may actually be a sign of inactivity or the brain idling in a sense, at least in some contexts. We know this often gets said about Alpha (at least superficially there seems to be 'idling' alpha, and 'productive' alpha), but I suppose this would take the view that it's not just alpha that is like this. I think this is the same general idea as spectral complexity in the EEG (that is powers are more evenly distributed across a finer-grained spectrum, which would result in a reduction of general amplitude), which may be positively correlated with meditation at least according to one study I can vaguely recall, but I don't really know enough about either to say if this association of mine is right or not.

 

When I was reading into Squash protocols on the intuition that they might be useful for training attention, pretty much all of the literature I could find were from the Peak Achievement guy (Jon Cowan, I think). There's some articles where he goes into sufficient detail about the 0-40Hz inhibit (at Fpz, I use a summed montage Fz and Pz like TAGsync), which was by far the most unambiguous part of that system, and truthfully the only part of it I was interested in (You can track simple attention with an EEG? Yes, please). I think he claims it's patented though (lol) so I don't know how kosher it is to talk about this stuff. It seems so ridiculously simple though that I guess you'd need a patent to 'protect' it, but I honestly can't see how one would hold up.

 

But yeah, I definitely need to use the inhibits. Even apart from just protecting me from mania they seem to reflect a kind of training that is individually valuable for me. I don't know what you guys mean by your beta in a range of 0-5uv though, do you mean all of the beta inhibits as a whole, or each individually? Because if it's individually, I definitely find value to lowering beta below 5uv, but if they're summed then you have less beta than I do even when I'm successfully 'suppressing thoughts' or essentially thought-less.

 

As for alpha and beta having an antagonistic relationship, that may be true, but if so my experience and sources point to something more complex going on. As I mentioned when I first began using TAGsync, I picked up increasing both alpha and theta quite quickly (but I had been practicing meditation for a while), though when I'd train with TAGsync my beta activity would increase as well. I know Richard Soutar, who was the first source I began looking at way back in like 2008 or 2009  basically says to uptrain alpha and inhibit beta at Pz, the rationale being that some people when learning to increase alpha will actually increase beta at the same time.

 


Edited by umop 3pisdn, 24 October 2014 - 10:41 PM.

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#86 Johan Pietro

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 05:35 AM

Happy to find this forum. I've had DD's protocols for months now but haven't used them regularly. Does anyone else on here have a Brainmaster running BrainAvatar?


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#87 Crowstream

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 11:36 AM

Heres a screenshot of my latest session:

2wn8xdv.jpg

 

I was sitting some distance away from the computer so I had to move in order to take the screenshot, that messed up the activity, but I guess you can see my overall activity before that in the spectrum analyzer.

I had the rewards set to auto and it looks like my alpha was way higher than my theta.

 

Overall in the inhibit bins the beta inhibits will stay below 5u in peak activity, and it does seem to follow a power-law so beta 1 will be the most active and beta 5 the least.

 

The band of activity that you may be able to see just below 30hz I think was coming from my computer, when I put it in my lap the activity there increased a lot so I decided to keep it away from me so it would not disturb the measurements.

 

I was able to reach a state of relaxation and inner quiet which I think increased alpha-theta and reduced the rest, I was feeling my body quite intensely and pictured myself inside a dark void, which seemed to help quiet down my thoughts :).



#88 Crowstream

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 12:46 PM

 

 

You're right these often get called Squash protocols. What's interesting is that some people read them as an increase in activity. The rationale being that 'brainwaves' are the product of large assemblies of neurons firing together, and on this basis they may be interpreted at least sometimes as being the result of thalamo-cortical timing loops, and so 'brainwaves' may actually be a sign of inactivity or the brain idling in a sense, at least in some contexts. We know this often gets said about Alpha (at least superficially there seems to be 'idling' alpha, and 'productive' alpha), but I suppose this would take the view that it's not just alpha that is like this. I think this is the same general idea as spectral complexity in the EEG (that is powers are more evenly distributed across a finer-grained spectrum, which would result in a reduction of general amplitude), which may be positively correlated with meditation at least according to one study I can vaguely recall, but I don't really know enough about either to say if this association of mine is right or not.

 

When I was reading into Squash protocols on the intuition that they might be useful for training attention, pretty much all of the literature I could find were from the Peak Achievement guy (Jon Cowan, I think). There's some articles where he goes into sufficient detail about the 0-40Hz inhibit (at Fpz, I use a summed montage Fz and Pz like TAGsync), which was by far the most unambiguous part of that system, and truthfully the only part of it I was interested in (You can track simple attention with an EEG? Yes, please). I think he claims it's patented though (lol) so I don't know how kosher it is to talk about this stuff. It seems so ridiculously simple though that I guess you'd need a patent to 'protect' it, but I honestly can't see how one would hold up.

 

But yeah, I definitely need to use the inhibits. Even apart from just protecting me from mania they seem to reflect a kind of training that is individually valuable for me. I don't know what you guys mean by your beta in a range of 0-5uv though, do you mean all of the beta inhibits as a whole, or each individually? Because if it's individually, I definitely find value to lowering beta below 5uv, but if they're summed then you have less beta than I do even when I'm successfully 'suppressing thoughts' or essentially thought-less.

 

As for alpha and beta having an antagonistic relationship, that may be true, but if so my experience and sources point to something more complex going on. As I mentioned when I first began using TAGsync, I picked up increasing both alpha and theta quite quickly (but I had been practicing meditation for a while), though when I'd train with TAGsync my beta activity would increase as well. I know Richard Soutar, who was the first source I began looking at way back in like 2008 or 2009  basically says to uptrain alpha and inhibit beta at Pz, the rationale being that some people when learning to increase alpha will actually increase beta at the same time.

 

Hey umop :), I had a similar experience with the beta activity, when I started out with TAG sync it would sometimes induce large increases of my beta activity which made me feel sort of manic. It was an interesting experience of course but I think its probably best to be careful and try to reduce the beta activity to more normal levels.

 

Training to reduce overall brainwave activity is interesting and I think there may be something to that, have you read this paper? http://www.ncbi.nlm....pubmed/22514527

 

From the abstract: "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."

 

In the article they use information theory to interpret the brainwave activity,  my interpretation of it was that a synchronization of brainwaves means that a group of neurons are working together at the same frequency, thus increasing the amplitude in the brainwave measurement. This seems to reflect a decrease in entropy (in information theory entropy is sort of defined as uncertainty) since more neurons are doing the same thing. A desynchronization means that there is less cooperation between neurons and therefore it increases entropy since there is less sameness and more uncertainty...

 

I think this may be a way for the brain to balance between chaos and rigidity,by modulating its level of entropy in order to carry out efficient information processing. The brain cant be totally desynchronized since this would create way too much entropy so it would enter a state of total chaos which wouldnt be very useful, in the same way a totally synchronized brain would be rigid and also unable to function properly.

 

I think this is related to self-organized criticality, according to this article: http://www.ncbi.nlm....y in the Cortex

 

The brain operates near criticality, but it can enter "sub-critical" or "super-critical" states also, which tend to be dysfunctional. I think too much synchronization in the brainwaves will lead to a "sub-critical" state whereas too much desynchronization may lead to a super-critical state.

 

It is possible that our brains may be similar in the sense that we had too much beta synchronization at times which kept our brains from working closer to criticality, if that is the case then it makes sense to focus on inhibiting brainwaves more, for someone else that might not make a lot of sense though since they may need to increase synchronization instead.

 

There may be a lot more to this of course that I dont understand! In my talk with Douglas where he introduced me to TAG Sync he mentioned the work of a german psychiatrist: http://www.amazon.co...s=Gerald Ulrich

 

I still have not read it since its so expensive but if I understood Douglas correctly Dr Ulrich and his colleagues have developed an interpretation of the EEG based on something they call "vigilance", which Douglas said he thinks is the same thing as a measurement of self-organized criticality directly by looking at the live EEG. Vigilance would be the basic pattern we are trying to train with TAG Sync (increased theta-alpha synchrony and decreases in beta synchrony).

 

So self-organized criticality may be more complicated than just more desynchronization or synchronization and also be frequency specific.


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#89 hza

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Posted 25 October 2014 - 09:28 PM

Hey umop, thanks for the explanation.  I never forget how much I have to learn about this tech, but even so there are plenty of reminders just trying to keep up here.

 

For me I realized that the inhibit bins worked quite well as a 'thought detector'. I don't really know why that is though, I'm not really convinced that 'beta = thought' or anything so simplistic, but the result seems to be mental quietude and piti or absorptive joy emerges more easily than normal, it seems to point to or suggest a kind of deficiency that I had in my own concentrative/tranquility meditation practice for observing and diffusing thoughts.

 

Makes sense if you think of Beta as task-oriented activity. Borrowing again from the B-T FAQs:

 

"The useful range of beta for most folks is from around 15 to around 22 Hz. Studies as far back as the 1970s have shown that some people experience the faster range (18-22 Hz) as intense focus, curiosity and engagement; others experience it as anxious and obsessive. Above 22 Hz, it’s pretty safe to say that the experience will not be good, no matter the age."

I take this to mean that above 22 Hz you're getting into emergency, fight-or-flight type of task-oriented thinking, or maybe you're already well into it by then, which would explain why some people get a charge out of the 18-22 band while others find it unsettling. It also seems to corroborate the "mania" you describe from your early TAG sessions, depending on what strikes you as manic, anyway. I think of it as mentally hyperactive in a way that easily gives rise to babbling and having trouble slowing down or pausing in conversations for others; and just a notch or two above that you start getting into anxiety and discomfort.

But during meditation, when you've got the Beta activity down to a barely detectable level, then I could see how "restlessness" would be a good term for what catches your attention, like some part of the brain doesn't know how to let go of the urge toward problem solving, constructing narratives, etc, so even if there's no coherent or articulated thought, you still get some stirrings of boredom or discontent. I find that even with levels like you see in the screen shot above, I still have articulate monologue going on, but seemingly at a greater distance and attenuation, fainter in volume or urgency.

Do you TAG with eyes open or closed? The consensus here seems to be EC for the most part, but I don't remember if you've said one way or the other how you go about it. I'm still trying to work out whether it would be helpful for me to do EC TAG until I get a better handle on it. DD told me in an email quite a while back that EO Alpha and Theta are crucial to task performance and cognition, which is tied up with states of long-distance synchrony (like along the midline, I guess) and that this is where phase resets occur; whereas an increase in Alpha or Theta activity with EC is just as likely a sign of drowsiness. From poking through those FAQs it seems that frequencies aren't the full story on brain states, you have to take into account "how it feels," and other factors to determine what the real activity is. Gah. Madness.

 

As for the latency of the HEG signal, I was mostly going from my experience with a peanut nIR unit. I don't know if I have the best understanding of my own criticism, though, because really my only observation was that I found it hard to use for training concentration and I often felt like I didn't really know what I was doing.

 

Yeah, I see what you mean. I keep changing my mind about what HEG is doing for me, and I've been at it for well over a year. I've never associated the kind of focus that you train with HEG with meditative focus like following the breath, or awareness meditation, although I can see how in description they don't seem all that different. Anyway I guess I never thought of HEG as a path for that sort of development, although now that I'm trying to teach myself to deactivate the pfc training with HEG, that might really help out there. I might break down and buy LIFE for that, but so far I'm just mucking around trying to get the video feedback to change direction more or less when I want it to. So far I'm terrible at it.

 

As for the mechanics of the wide inhibit, the idea is just that the wide inhibit bin is undiscriminating, it looks at the amplitude of all brainwaves in a range of 0-40Hz, so it will respond to any general reduction in amplitude. So if I have problems with beta activity, it's just not going to catch it because it would be lost in all of the other activity. But it's not really intended to do so much, I just wanted to have a crude 'reward' feedback so I have both carrot and stick, since the narrow inhibit bins are all stick. In a way it's not really that important. It's also why I don't worry about inhibiting alpha or theta or whatever, because it's not a discriminating inhibit, so alpha or theta don't necessarily have to be reduced at all.

 

OK, I was thinking of a squash kind of like an office fire where the flames are really high in some spots, and other places haven't caught yet, and the sprinkler system comes on and evenly distributes water over the entire area. So what you end up with is the fire being completely extinguished where it was weak before, but still present where it was strongest. I guess though when you inhibit a wide band like 0-40 or 2-38 as I often see, it just takes the average of all that activity and decreases that, rather than applying an evenly distributed local inhibition across all the points measured. You get the same thing in bipolar training, apparently, in that you can tune the overall amplitude up or down in a certain frequency band between correlating points, but you're only affecting the average, as opposed to tuning both poles to the same frequency and amplitude. So if you start out with imbalanced poles, you likely haven't balanced them by the time you're done. I just learned that like a month ago. One of these days I'm going to have to spring for some real textbooks on nfb, I think, if anyone ever writes a comprehensive guide that isn't as expensive as the actual equipment.

 

What's interesting is that some people read them as an increase in activity. The rationale being that 'brainwaves' are the product of large assemblies of neurons firing together, and on this basis they may be interpreted at least sometimes as being the result of thalamo-cortical timing loops, and so 'brainwaves' may actually be a sign of inactivity or the brain idling in a sense, at least in some contexts. We know this often gets said about Alpha (at least superficially there seems to be 'idling' alpha, and 'productive' alpha), but I suppose this would take the view that it's not just alpha that is like this. I think this is the same general idea as spectral complexity in the EEG (that is powers are more evenly distributed across a finer-grained spectrum, which would result in a reduction of general amplitude), which may be positively correlated with meditation at least according to one study I can vaguely recall, but I don't really know enough about either to say if this association of mine is right or not.

 

I'm going to take a couple weeks and read up on squashes, come back and read this section 10 or 12 more times, and get back to you. I can't eat at this table yet; I keep poking myself in the eye with my fork.

 

There's some articles where he goes into sufficient detail about the 0-40Hz inhibit (at Fpz, I use a summed montage Fz and Pz like TAGsync), which was by far the most unambiguous part of that system, and truthfully the only part of it I was interested in (You can track simple attention with an EEG? Yes, please). I think he claims it's patented though (lol) so I don't know how kosher it is to talk about this stuff. It seems so ridiculously simple though that I guess you'd need a patent to 'protect' it, but I honestly can't see how one would hold up.

 

I wouldn't be surprised if most of these systems turned out to be based on ridiculously simple principles. At the risk of making a huge and unfair generalization, while just about everybody involved in nfb seems to get the bug sooner or later that they've been handed the key to the salvation of humanity, there seems to be a further split in the community between those who work their asses off helping people, and those who turn their attention to making a fortune off nfb while they're at it. I'm not against anybody being handsomely compensated for their work, but beyond a certain point it can get a little gross. No need to get into all that here, though.

Anyway that's what I like about Dailey, no matter how frustrated I get with these protocols sometimes, I trust DD and TAG--DD is clearly all about the tech, the training, and imo he's genuinely concerned with helping people. I find it surprising actually that he makes his designs available for sale to the public, and part of me thinks one of these days he might just pull the plug on direct sales and work only with licensed providers.

 

I don't know what you guys mean by your beta in a range of 0-5uv though, do you mean all of the beta inhibits as a whole, or each individually?

 

I just picked the 5u figure kinda randomly. If you look at my screen grab above, you see that all the Beta is quite low, I just went with a number that looked like all the activity was well under. I've never touched the inhibits in any of those bins, never thought I needed to.

 

Crowstream, thanks for kicking in your observations.  I can get the spectrum analyzer to look like that with EC pretty consistently (the screen shot I posted above was from a computer that I haven't trained TAG on recently, so all my session recordings were older), and actually pretty decent with EO at 10Hz, but not a nice solid bar like that either, maybe 75% of what you have in that pic.  Are you doing this EC or EO?

 

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#90 Crowstream

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Posted 26 October 2014 - 08:25 AM

Crowstream, thanks for kicking in your observations.  I can get the spectrum analyzer to look like that with EC pretty consistently (the screen shot I posted above was from a computer that I haven't trained TAG on recently, so all my session recordings were older), and actually pretty decent with EO at 10Hz, but not a nice solid bar like that either, maybe 75% of what you have in that pic.  Are you doing this EC or EO?

 

 

It was EC, I usually do both kinds of training but I think EC is my favorite so far. Interesting what you said about EO alpha theta being critical for task performance and cognition, maybe I will do some more EO training instead.

 

I feel like I can go deeper into meditation with EC and I usually never feel drowsy so thats not a problem for me.

 

NFB sure is complicated :).







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