Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Karen A. Kemtes

Number of Pages



Human aging will be one of the biggest challenges we face during this century and optimizing health for the rapidly growing older population is imperative to avoid end of life suffering. Uncovering stimuli and methods that may enhance memory and attentional focus in the aging brain has become a priority. Current research demonstrates a connection between neurocognitive decline in seniors over 65 years and deficits in alpha frequency brainwave activity. Studies indicate that specific auditory tones have a significant effect on our brainwaves and provide a positive influence. These tones have been defined as alpha-harmonic sound patterns and they are called binaural beats; When tones of two different frequencies are presented separately to each ear, the superior olivary nuclei within the medulla of the brainstem synthesize the two sounds into a single, perceived, low frequency tone, the binaural beat. The binaural beat pulses with the overall frequency of the difference between the two original tones. If the difference matches a particular brainwave state, such as 7-11 Hertz (Hz), the alpha frequency range, then the overall brain activity will maintain that brainwave state. Research suggests that auditory beats within specific electroencephalograph (EEG) frequency ranges can enhance corresponding brainwave activity and may affect levels of neurocognition; This study compared the effect of auditory binaural beats on measures of neurocognitive function and on brainwave activity in a sample of community-dwelling healthy aging seniors. Cognitive function task scores were significantly higher and a significant increase in alpha brainwave frequency was demonstrated during presentation of binaural beats. These results suggest that improvements in neurocognitive function were a consequence of enhanced levels of alpha frequency brainwave activity elicited by auditory binaural beats.


Activities; Aging; Alpha; Alpha Wave; Attention; Beats; Binaural; Binaural Beats; Enhance; Elderly; Healthy; Memory; Seniors; Wave

Controlled Subject

Psychobiology; Gerontology; Developmental psychology

File Format


File Size

1423.36 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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