Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Question on Brain Waves

As you may have read on Monday's post, I went to the Museum of Science and Industry over the weekend and there was one interesting activity that the museum had that has stuck with me. The activity was a game and I love games, but I never have been dominated in a game like I was in this one.

Now you read that first paragraph, and then looked at the title referring to brain waves and you may be a bit confused, but the game that was played is called Mindball and the way one wins is by relaxing.

Mindball utilizes some sort of brain scan device that is in a belt like, well, belt, that fits around the head. The device measures Alpha and Theta brain waves and by relaxing one can lower these waves.

The game is played head-to-head so Rob and I went at it and as fast as I sat down and was strapped in the game was over. The way one wins is by having lower brain waves and this makes a ball that sits between the two players move in one direction. If the ball reaches a person that person loses, and the game I played the ball, I swear, had after burners on it! It wasn't even a contest. It was so bad that the person running the game said, "Whoa! Okay, let's try that again!"

We waited in line to play this game and the staff never let someone go twice in a row, but my performance was so bad that a second chance was given.

In the second game I thought I was relaxed. My conscious mind was clear, and yet again the ball flew towards me and it was an instant game over.

Looking at the chart of the game my brain waves were at the maximum that the screen allowed, so I guess you could say they were off the charts. As I stood up I made a comment to Rob that, "Well, maybe that's what I get for being on the autism spectrum." I didn't think much of this comment, but the man running the game started to ask a question, but then had to get the next duo into a game. The man kept looking at me and I began to wonder if this abnormally high set of brain waves is indeed connect with autism.

Back when I was in Vancouver during the Olympics I did a different brain waves game and there my brain activity was off the charts. This is fine and all, but I do not know what this means. I looked up what Alpha and Theta waves do and I will be the first to admit that I know nothing about how the physical brain works. I can write all day about how emotions played into my life and the challenges that can come from simple things like eye contact or run ins with ushers at hockey games, but neurology is something that I know nothing about.

Because of my lack of knowledge I simply wanted to throw this out there. Is there a connection? The one thing I read was that a Theta brain state is much like a person driving down the interstate and being unable to recall the last five miles. If this is true is this part of "The Conscious Coma" concept I put forth in my book? Also, if I thought I was totally relaxed, and my brain was so active, is this a busy subconscious and if so would this be the cause of my usual tiredness after a half day of being out of the house due to processing? So many questions!

I usually have answers, but for this I want someone to answer mine as I am curious and need to know.


  1. I am guessing, Aaron, that none of us are educated enough to answer this for you!

    I will send you, privately, the contact information of an aquintance of mine who is an Aspie and a Neorologist in Colorado. I'm sure that he would be fascinated for you to send him your 'Life on the other side..." link. His special interest of study is Autism and Asperger's.

  2. If it's based on my knowledge on autism, it is perhaps because anxiety levels of individuals with autism tend to be higher than our neurotypical counterparts. And perhaps due to this higher than normal anxiety levels, that explains the brain wave patterns.