Beta wave, or beta rhythm, is the term used to designate the frequency range of human brain activity between 12.5 and 30 Hz (12.5 to 30 transitions or cycles per second). Beta waves are split into three sections: Low Beta Waves (12.5–16 Hz, "Beta 1 power"); Beta Waves (16.5–20 Hz, "Beta 2 power"); and High Beta Waves (20.5–28 Hz, "Beta 3 power"). Beta states are the states associated with normal waking consciousness. Beta waves can be quantified using Quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) using freely available toolboxes, such as, EEGLAB or the Neurophysiological Biomarker Toolbox.
Low amplitude beta waves with multiple and varying frequencies are often associated with active, busy, or anxious thinking and active concentration.
Over the motor cortex beta waves are associated with the muscle contractions that happen in isotonic movements and are suppressed prior to and during movement changes. Bursts of beta activity are associated with a strengthening of sensory feedback in static motor control and reduced when there is movement change. Beta activity is increased when movement has to be resisted or voluntarily suppressed. The artificial induction of increased beta waves over the motor cortex by a form of electrical stimulation called Transcranial alternating-current stimulation consistent with its link to isotonic contraction produces a slowing of motor movements.
- Delta wave – (0.1 – 3 Hz)
- Theta wave – (4 – 7 Hz)
- Alpha wave – (8 – 15 Hz)
- Mu wave – (7.5 – 12.5 Hz)
- SMR wave – (12.5 – 15.5 Hz)
- Beta wave – (16 – 31 Hz)
- Gamma wave – (32 – 100 Hz)
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