In our work we frequently use a piece of neurofeedback equipment to help people to ’see inside their black box’. The kit consists of two Electroencephalography (EEG) headbands and some software, magnets and motors that allow people to play at ‘competitive relaxation’ using something similar to a table top football set. The EEG measures alpha and theta waves and the more relaxed the person becomes the more the kit pushes the ball away from them so they ‘score’ at the other end of the table. Most recently we have used this at a medical systems company who, amongst other things, design and manufacture imaging systems – so potentially there was going to be plenty of expert knowledge in the room to challenge what we are about. Luckily we are upfront that the kit is, in some ways, a sophisticated gimmick but that it also serves very well to make the point that there are real, tangible processes happening in our brain that we are often oblivious to and don’t exert conscious control over. The display connected to the machine shows players their real-time brain waves and after overcoming their initial nervousness, and with the aid of some simple relaxation techniques, people are able to see that they can make a real ‘on demand’ difference to their brain state. This opens up the really exciting territory that we are in fact able to choose and control way more of how we behave than we currently do. The payback from this is that by being conscious of our various brain states, and by being able to choose them, we can significantly increase both our effectiveness at work and our overall wellbeing.
As has always been our experience the demonstration was engaging, fun, and for some participants, quite profound. Many of the people who came to see us had science and engineering backgrounds and our science led approach offered them a new perspective on brain efficacy, decision making, stamina, resilience, managing change, emotional regulation, etc. that people seemed to find not just interesting, but more importantly, useful.
Our next planned outing for the EEG kit is at the CIPD annual conference and exhibition in Manchester on 6th and 7th November, so if you would like to know more, or to see it for yourself, consider yourself invited to come and meet us there!