Sunday, November 25, 2012

Play it again, HIRREM! (A musical tone approach to balanced pronunciation learning?)

Clip art: Clker
With apologies to Humprey Bogart, one of the basic "learning" assumptions in most training systems is that some degree of balance between relevant areas of the brain, whether left~right, top~bottom or front~back (or all of those) is optimal. How that is to be achieved is the question, of course. As blogged earlier on several occasions, brain research (e.g., as in neurotherapy) is now beginning to offer alternatives or at least compliments to cognitive and physical exercises or disciplines: brain frequency "adjustment."

In a new study by Tegler and colleagues at Wake Forest University (summarized by Science Daily), musical tones were mirrored back to the brains of subjects to achieve a more balanced overall brain frequency profile--which appeared to successfully lessen insomnia, at least for a month or so. Tegler does note that " . . . the changes observed with HIRREM, could be due to a placebo effect. In addition, because HIRREM therapy involves social interaction and relaxation, there may be other non-specific mechanisms for improvement, in addition to the tonal mirroring."

Now granted, this specific technology may not directly impact a learner's ability to learn new or repaired sounds--or even "HIRREM" better, but it is clearly on the right track. (Nothing to lose sleep over if you can't spring for the 30k to get you a " . . . high-resolution, relational, resonance-based, electroencephalic mirroring or, as it's commercially known, Brainwave Optimization™ . . . " set up!) But multiple-modality and balanced "all-brain" engagement is the key to pronunciation change. It's coming. Keep in touch. 

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