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Publication Date

Spring 2010

Degree Type

Thesis - Campus Access Only

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Ronald F. Rogers


Attention, Beta brainwaves, Binaural beat, Continuous performance task, Vigilance

Subject Areas

Psychology, Experimental; Psychology, General


When two pure tones are presented separately but simultaneously to each ear a strange perceptual phenomenon occurs. A single modulating tone is perceived whose amplitude is equal to the difference of those presented. This tone is called a binaural beat. Research has demonstrated that binaural beats have the capability to influence behaviors (Brady &Stevens, 2002; Lane et al., 1998; Padmandaban et al., 2005) and it is speculated that this is done by way of brainwave entrainment. That is, the belief that if binaural beats are set to entrain a frequency within the range of normal brainwaves, the brainwaves of the listener will change to match the frequency of the binaural beat. This thesis aims to research the influence of binaural beats on beta brainwave magnitudes and vigilance task performance. In this study, 19 San Jose State University (SJSU) undergraduate psychology students were sampled. A within-subject design was utilized such that all participants took part in two continuous performance tests (CPT) in which either the control (white noise) or experimental (binaural auditory beats set to entrain16 Hz and 24 Hz) treatment was present. Findings indicate that binaural auditory beats at these frequencies did not influence beta brainwave magnitudes or vigilance task performance. Moreover, these results suggest that the application of binaural beats on attentional processes may only be useful for individuals with impaired attention either from an external or internal source.