General Question

reactor5's avatar

Does the alpha state of the brain increase learning?

Asked by reactor5 (571points) January 6th, 2010

I was catching up on topics since being back, and while reading this topic about where creativity comes from and a thought popped into my head.

I’ve heard going into the alpha state in your brain increases creativity and learning skills, something I’ll need quite badly next semester at Uni. I looked some stuff up on the internets but really all I can find are very uninformative things which aren’t backed up by research, and if they are, they claim “leading research shows” and don’t cite it.

So my question is: Is there anyone who knows, either anecdotally or through a source of research, the problems and benefits of entering into the alpha state of the brain?

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10 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

No, you maybe have misunderstood. It increases the ability of the brain to make certain changes that are related to learning. In and of itself, it does not increase learning but rather increases the capacity of the brain to absorb/remember new input.

nisse's avatar

I don’t think it’s that easy that alpha waves = easy learning. A brain state is nothing to strive for or trying to achieve as a prerequesite of proper concentration. If you achieve proper concentration you will enter the proper brain state, not the other way around. Besides, it is hard to control what types of brain waves you have.

Im sure the best way to enhance your creativity and learning is excercise, lots of fresh air, sleeping properly, being motivated and caffeine.

reactor5's avatar

I’m actually thinking more about creativity here. I should have been more specific. Is it useful for that?

nisse's avatar

Well, judging by many great artists, to become extremely creative you have to suffer alot, and preferably die young.

reactor5's avatar

Well… I guess from now on I’ll write down every idea I have, then after a while try the alpha state thing. If it works I should see a marked increase in idea output right?

daemonelson's avatar

For learning skills, you need some way to supercharge the hippocampus. I suggest being a toddler.

For creativity, you need something crazy like prefrontal cortex activation or hallucination. I suggest drugs. Lots of drugs.

Also, it works more like this Learning = Alpha wave increase. But Alpha wave increase ≠ Learning.

Pandora's avatar

For creativity you need to be in theta. Theta is just below Alpha, its the day dreaming state. Uusally can can achieve this state when you are doing something repeatedly where you are kind of like on automatic and your mind drifts from what you are doing. Like when your taking a long shower or your on a long drive on a very familiar road, or your just sitting back listening to music you’ve heard over and over or stitting and listening to the rain. In the day dreaming state you tend to be more creative. I don’t know if anyone can say with certainty that it will help you be more creative but its easier for you to be creative than at other times. The rest of the brain way states require active thinking of something you are currently focused on, or is too close to sleep. Now some people have very creative dreams but many don’t remember them.

Pazza's avatar

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reactor5's avatar

@Pandora that’s the kind of thing I was looking for. Thanks so much! I guess I’ve just got to improve my memory then, eh? :P

Pandora's avatar

@reactor5 I’m glad I was able to help. I know for me certain types of music help me get into a day dream state and as I let my mind wander, the mood of the music can help me create a whole story to go along with it. I use to do this as a teenager a lot and I would sit on a rocking chair. The steady rythm allowed me to escape reality without having to fall asleep. I could sing along every word unconciously and totally be thinking or dreaming of something else. If I wanted to stay along that train of thought I would let the song repeat and repeat till I completed my whole story. It use to come in handy for english lit. when I would have to create short stories. Always got an A. As for improving memory, everyone is different some people are a hands on type of learner and some are visual and some need repetition. You have to discover which one works best for you.

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