The effects of binaural and monoaural beat stimulation on cognitive functioning in subjects with different levels of emotionality

Hessel Engelbregt, Nora Meijburg, Marjolein Schulten, Oliver Pogarell, Jan Berend Deijen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Today, binaural and monaural beats are offered over the Internet or by mental health institutes to improve wellbeing or cognitive functioning. This improvement is explained by the assumption that the brain adapts its brainwave frequency to the frequency of the auditory beat. The present study examined the effects of binaural and monaural beat stimulation on attention and working memory in high and low emotional participants. A group of 24 participants (16 females, 8 males) between 19 and 31 years old (M = 22.33, SD = 3.42) performed a Flanker task to measure attention and a Klingberg task to measure working memory while listening to white noise (WN), 40 Hz gamma binaural beat (BB) and 40 Hz gamma monaural beat (MB). Speed of performance on all three levels of difficulty of the Flanker attention task was faster under the BB and MB condition than under WN. No differences were found between BB and MB conditions. With respect to the quality of performance on the Flanker attention task and the Klingberg working memory task no significant differences under the WN, MB, and BB condition were found. Finally, as participants with low or high emotionality did not respond differently to BB and MB under any of the conditions, effects of BB and MB seem similar in high and low emotional participants. The present study supports the notion that faster attention processing may equally be attributed to the influence of BB and MB. Further research is recommended to gain more insight in the role of factors such as duration of stimulation of BB and MB, frequency range, most appropriate carrier tones, and the role of personality traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-207
Number of pages9
JournalAdvances in Cognitive Psychology
Issue number3
Early online date30 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


  • Attention
  • Auditory beat stimulation
  • Binaural beats
  • Emotionality
  • Flanker task
  • Klingberg task
  • Memory
  • Monaural beats


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