What’s Actually Happening When Your Brain Goes “Wow”

Beyond neuroanatomy and neurochemistry, flow states rely on shifts in the brain's neuroelectricity.

Steven Kotler:  We’ve talked about neuroanatomy and we’ve talked about neurochemistry. The last bit is neuroelectricity. So what we now know happens in flow is our brainwaves which are kind of normally in waking consciousness up in beta – this is a fast moving wave. It gets really excited and you go up to kind of into stress responses, right. It moves down to alpha which is a daydreaming mode and then below that is theta. Theta is only accessible in the hypnagogic state as we’re starting to fall asleep or in dreaming, in REM sleep. Flow takes place on the border between alpha and theta. It just kind of hovers there so it’s a radical change in normal brain function. But something else really, really cool happens. So we talked earlier about how creativity is enhanced in flow. One of the other ways it is enhanced is when you’re on the border between alpha and theta because you’re in theta you can get a gamma spike. Gamma is coupled to the theta wave. It’s a very fast moving wave and it only shows up when ideas are coming together, when we have that aha moment, right. That’s a gamma spike. Gamma’s coupled with theta so it can only show up – you can only get that aha moment if you’re in theta. And flow by pushing us to the borderline between alpha and theta sort of sets us up to have massive startling insights.



Directed/Produced by Jonathan Fowler, Elizabeth Rodd, and Dillon Fitton

 

 

 

Beyond neuroanatomy and neurochemistry, flow states rely on shifts in the brain's neuroelectricity. The brain's default state is one of waking consciouness. Flow alters your brain waves to sit on the border of daydreaming and dreaming.

The 10 most influential women in tech right now

These thought leaders, founders, and entrepreneurs are propelling the kind of future we want to be a part of.

Credit: Flickr, The Wall Street Journal, TechCrunch
Technology & Innovation
  • The tech industry may be dominated by men in terms of numbers, but there are lots of brilliant women in leadership positions that are changing the landscape.
  • The women on this list are founders of companies dedicated to teaching girls to code, innovators in the fields of AI, VR, and machine learning, leading tech writers and podcasters, and CEOs of companies like YouTube and Project Include.
  • This list is by no means all-encompassing. There are many more influential women in tech that you should seek out and follow.

Keep reading Show less

Teen popularity linked to increased depression in adolescence, decreased depression in adulthood

The results of this study showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence, declining in early adulthood and then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.

Credit: Dragana Gordic on Shutterstock
Mind & Brain
  • A 2020 Michigan State University study examined the link between teen social networks and the levels of depression later in life.
  • This study used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, specifically targeting social network data. The results showed depressive symptoms being highest in adolescence and declining in early adulthood, then climbing back up again into one's early 30s.
  • There are several ways you can attempt to stay active and socially connected while battling depression, according to experts.
Keep reading Show less

90,000-year-old human hybrid found in ancient cave

Researchers have just discovered the remains of a hybrid human.

Researchers in a chamber of the Denisova cave in Siberia, where the fossil of a Denisova 11 was discovered. CreditIAET SB RAS, Sergei Zelensky
Surprising Science

90,000 years ago, a young girl lived in a cave in the Altai mountains in southern Siberia. Her life was short; she died in her early teens, but she stands at a unique point in human evolution. She is the first known hybrid of two different kinds of ancient humans: the Neanderthals and the Denisovans.

Keep reading Show less

In quantum entanglement first, scientists link distant large objects

Physicists create quantum entanglement, making two distant objects behave as one.

Credit: Niels Bohr Institute
Surprising Science
  • Researchers accomplished quantum entanglement between a mechanical oscillator and a cloud of atoms.
  • The feat promises application in quantum communication and quantum sensors.
  • Quantum entanglement involves linking two objects, making them behave as one at a distance.
  • Keep reading Show less
    Quantcast