The Effect of Binaural Tones on EEG Waveforms and Human Computational Performance

Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Electrical and Computer Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Amy Teresa Neidhard-Doll


Humans have used tones in religion, community gatherings, meditation, and other spiritual practices for millennia. In Buddhism, tones such as the Ohm are seen as deeply religious. In Islam, the call to prayer is recited five times per day, often in repetitive and similar tones, to call the Muslim community for prayer. In Catholicism, many songs utilize the same chords to praise God. In the US, the national anthem and pledge of allegiance are connected with national pride. In many tribal religions, repetitive drumbeats are used to inspire trances and hold rituals. More recently, binaural tones have increased in popularity. Many people have started using binaural tones to relax, sleep, or concentrate. However, few research studies have examined the effect of binaural tones on electroencephalogram (EEG) waveforms. In this thesis, the effect of several binaural tones on EEG waveforms is analyzed through a human subjects research study in which participants performed computational tasks of varying cognitive load. Neural activity as a function of peak amplitude was recorded using an Emotiv EPOC electrode array. The results indicate that while vast differences exist amongst individuals, there does appear to be an increase in neural activity after repeated short exposure to binaural tones at 15 Hz, when averaged across all test subjects. In addition, subjects on average demonstrated improvement in both speed (13.73%) and accuracy (40%) for mathematical calculations of varying complexity while listening to binaural tones when compared to calculations of similar complexity that were performed with no auditory stimulus.


Electrical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Biomedical Research, Bioinformatics, EEG, Emotiv, Binaural Tones, Human Cognitive Performance, Brain Computer Interface

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2021, author.