Using EEG to measure right-hemisphere dominance during meditation

  • Using EEG to measure right-hemisphere dominance during meditation

    Posted by Steffan Iverson on April 25, 2023 at 9:45 pm

    Hi everyone – I’ve been working with a small team of meditators and coders to build a system that uses the Muse EEG headset to measure the dominance of right vs left hemisphere power. Users simply record a meditation session, upload their files, and the website graphs how much their right hemisphere power increased. We are thrilled with the results and now rely on it to better understand our practice. I was hoping for some feedback from this community – it was Ian’s book that inspired me to use EEG data this way, and it seems to have paid off well. In the chart below, blue indicates left brain dominance, red indicates right brain dominance. X-axis is the minutes of meditation time.

    Don Salmon replied 1 year ago 4 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Jake Hoban

    April 26, 2023 at 9:43 am

    Hi Steffan, this is really interesting as it fits with my experience and that of some other meditators – it seems to take around a quarter of an hour (roughly sensed, as we aren’t looking at a clock!) for the chatter of the “conscious mind” to die down as we come back to our deeper felt awareness.

    • Steffan Iverson

      April 26, 2023 at 5:26 pm

      Yeah that tracks! I think these tools can be helpful for people who don’t yet have enough awareness of their subjective experience to have better confidence when it does occur.

      • Don Salmon

        April 29, 2023 at 10:58 am

        Do you know at all about Dan Siegel’s interpersonal neurobiology? He has been writing for decades not just about integration of the hemispheres, (which goes beyond the idea that meditation is primarily about activating the right) but integration of cortical and subcortical regions of the brain, integration of the “head” brain with the “heart” and “gut” brains, integration of the nervous system with all systems of the body, and integration of mind/body/world.

        In his book “Awareness” (2018), he comes even closer than Iain does to integrating science and contemplation, noting the fundamental role of Consciousness (not mind) in the universe.

    • Don Salmon

      April 29, 2023 at 11:00 am

      You might be interested in Culadasa’s “The Mind Illuminated.” He teaches meditation methods of integrating LH and RH attention that had astonishing results. Meditators came to him with 20-30 years experience who had never experienced complete silence of the mind. Quite a few got to that point within a few months of studying with him. I found his distinctions between selective attention (LH) and peripheral awareness (RH) to be key in experiencing the complete absence of verbal chatter and sustaining it.

      It’s a tough book but you only need to go through the first 100 pages to “get it” – highly recommended!

  • Rodney Marsh

    April 29, 2023 at 8:59 am

    Great initiative… I follow the practice of twice daily 30 minutes of mantra meditation (in the Christian tradition (see My experience matches what the teaching recommends – a minimum of 20 min sessions rising to 30 min when possible. It has greatly helped me in many ways.

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