Theta Brainwaves: The Magic Rhythm and the Gateway to Memory

Meanwhile, other scientists, intrigued by the fact that the theta state seemed to increase learning and also seemed to produce frequent vivid memories, began investigating the relationship between theta and memory.

They found that for memories to be formed, the brain must undergo a process called long-term potentiation (LTP), which involves electrical and chemical changes in the neurons involved in storing memory. When LTP does not happen, information that enters the brain is not stored but totally forgotten. Neurophysiologist Dr. Gary Lynch and associates of at the University of California at Irvine discovered that the key to LTP is theta brain waves. “We have found the magic rhythm that makes LTP,” said Lynch. “There’s a magic rhythm, the theta rhythm.”

Significantly, the theta rhythm is what Lynch calls “the natural, indigenous rhythm” of a part of the brain called the hippocampus, which is essential for the formation and storage of new memories and the calling up of old memories.

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