Fractals from the brain

Neurophilosophy has found a series of simply beautiful images created by using the electrical activity of the brain to seed fractal patterns.

They’re generated by BrainPaint, a custom system for neurofeedback – a technique in which a person connected to an EEG machine sees the output of their brain visualised in real-time.

This allows people to see the result of modifying mental states that might otherwise be difficult to monitor internally.

For example, the system might be tuned to show a specific pattern when a peak alpha frequency is reached – reported to correlate positively with cognitive performance.

The user can then practice making this pattern appear more often, as the system allows them to see when they’re being successful, where previously it might not apparent.

BrainPaint is a neurofeedback system created by researcher Bill Scott who seemed to have come up with the idea of making the feedback appear as beautiful images.

Neurofeedback is being used quite widely outside the mainstream and currently crosses the threshold between a fringe practice and a scientifically validated therapy.

Certainly, there are now a growing number of scientific studies which have demonstrated its modest but reliable effectiveness in some disorders.

However, its not difficult to find neurofeedback therapists on the fringes of the mainstream who claim amazing effects that aren’t supported by the research.

If you want to know more about the science of neurofeedback, Scientific American published an article about it last year.

Link to BrainPaint gallery (via Neurophilosophy).
Link to SciAm article ‘Train the Brain’.

2 Comments

  1. Posted September 9, 2007 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Cool pictures.
    EEG neurofeedback is now being used in some BCI gaming devices, which might actually be pretty dangerous, at least according to a recent article in Wired.

    http://www.wired.com/medtech/health/news/2007/09/bci_games

  2. Kat
    Posted September 16, 2007 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    I know it might be strange, but when I saw the picture I thought it looked like a stadium with a whole bunch of people. Their faces were the being shown on by the blue light in the center, but doesn’t it look like that? I thought so anyway.


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