The biofeedback study Hemispheric and Autonomic Laterality: Effects of Unilateral Repetitive Activation1 was conducted at the Nova University Biofeedback Laboratories.
The results of the study, with a statistical p<.001, strongly suggest that activating the right brain hemisphere with a repetitive visual stimulus along with light classical music can significantly impact the recovery from stress.
The study involved 47 volunteer subjects, split between the experimental group watching a visual device, called the “Kinoscope”, (a.k.a. the Adagio) and a control group.
The experimental group is referred to as the Right Hemisphere Activation (RHA) group. This group, in addition to watching the Kinescope, also listened to meditative music. The control group, also referred to as the Left Hemisphere Activation (LHA) group, listened to spoken text while also seeing the text projected onto a screen. Several biofeedback measures were recorded one each subject during the sessions:
- Bilateral skin conductance level (SCL)
- Heart rate (HR)
Specifically, three hypotheses were tested:
- Individuals whose right hemispheres are being activated by the processing of repetitive spatial information should demonstrate shorter recovery following induced arousal than individuals whose left hemispheres are being activated by repetitive verbal information
- Individuals whose left hemispheres have been repeatedly activated should score higher on post treatment verbal tasks
- Individuals whose right hemispheres have been repeatedly activated should score higher on post-treatment spatial tasks
Each subject came to the laboratory three times a week for two weeks for a total of six sessions. SCL and HR were monitored for the entire 45 minutes of each session with time samples recorded every minute for each variable. The first 15 minutes of each session was a stabilization period. During sessions two, four, and six, three disruptions were randomly presented to elicit a startle response, allowing at least five minutes for recovery from each of nine disruptions. Visual startle consisted of turning on an overhead light; auditory startle was elicited by hitting a metal file cabinet with a hammer; and touch startle consisted of two taps on the right forearm by the experimenter. Time for recovery to baseline was noted in seconds.