Peak BrainHappiness Training Blog

A Direct and Measurable Approach to Improving Your Attention Span

Dr. Jon Cowan - Sunday, February 04, 2018

What is Attention Span?

Attention span is the ability to keep focused on one thing without becoming distracted in any way.  The best illustration of this on the web is a three-minute challenge on YouTube, in which you are continually reminded to pay attention to the speaker, who is not trying to be particularly interesting.  

The key element here is that attention needs to be unbroken from moment to moment.  Attention tests that are made up of discrete items such as the TOVA and IVA are not the same task, even if they are called "Continuous Performance Tests" since they give the brain an opportunity to pause and recharge between trials.  They are useful as measures of attention, but not true attention span.  Unbroken, undistracted attention is more important for optimal performance in many types of tasks.

We have been offering an effective way to measure and train true attention span for over 20 years.  Our Focus measure responds to the intensity (single-pointedness) of your focus by increasing.  The yellow bar on the chart rises.  We can then set a lower limit (threshold) and challenge the user to keep his Focus level above it for as long as he can.  We call this the "Focus Run Time" and can measure it automatically with our Peak BrainHappiness Trainer software.  We can also automatically keep track of the "Best Focus Run" in the session.

Early on, even before we developed the automatic tracking, we held Concentration Derbys (we're from Kentucky) at our exhibit table, giving away $100 to the person who had the longest Attention Span at the meeting.  This proved to be a quite popular way to show off the system, and it also established the validity of the approach (to us) because no one ever complained the Derby was unfair, even those who could only do four seconds.  The all-time record holder, a baseball coach, held on for over 33 minutes!  I was amazed.  

That was before the Internet took over our lives.  Many people believe that it is responsible for shortening our attention span.  In any case, it is clear that most of us would like to be able to concentrate for far longer than we typically do.  

Doubling Attention Span

Over 10 years ago, a test showed that with just five sessions of our Peak Achievement Focus training, the Attention Span (ourFocus Run Time) of the top executives of a Fortune 500 company doubled.  It was performed by Lt. Col. (Ret.) Louis Csoka, Ph.D., who was the founder of the Army's Center for Enhanced Performance at West Point.  He went on to use our Trainer in many different venues. 

Improving Focus and Attention Measures

university study of ADHD, published in Clinical EEG and Neuroscience and other journals, demonstrated that our Focus measure improved very significantly in 12 sessions with training, and was accompanied by very large measured changes in behavior and attention tests, as well as traditional EEG measures of attention such as theta/beta ratio, which were not directly trained.  The authors wrote:  "Our study shows that improvement can be indicated within a shorter number of sessions (ie, 12) compared to previous protocols that required more sessions per participant (>30) to statistically indicate significant improvement either in EEG or in behavioral measures."

The Importance of Training Location and Method

We were the first to discover the importance of pre-frontal cortex (forehead) training in creating better attention training outcomes.  It is the patented combination of this electrode site, right near the brain's Executive Attention Network, with our Focus protocol that leads to superior results.  Our Peak BrainHappiness Trainer Pro, the premium edition of the Peak Achievement Trainer, is still designed around this combination.  There have been many studies of the effectiveness of neurofeedback in improving attention problems.  All of the others have used different locations and methods.  It is perhaps not surprising that there are several meta-analyses which indicate that neurofeedback doesn't work or is minimally effective for ADHD.  They are incorrect if the right methods are used. 

In fact, people who try our methods for Focus, Alertness, and Neureka! are very pleasantly surprised that they understand and can control them in the first few minutes.  This leads to rapid training success.  All three of these are combined in the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer Pro, which can be used to train happiness and other positive feelings and to improve memory.  

A Competitor's Mistakes

A recent competitive entry into the field has actually perpetuated this mistake in an unethical manner.  They started out training attention with a pre-frontal method, using a system already on the market.  They gathered results and then summarized them in an unpublished poster on their website, along with video endorsements.  (By the way, we have many more endorsements.)  Then they switched to their own system with an electrode at the top of the head (Cz), and are now selling it, without informing anyone of the switch.  

They claim it will take at least 30 sessions, performed three times a week, to show an improvement, even for those without ADHD.  There is not even an iota of published or cumulated data on the new system. Our data shows large improvements in five sessions in normal (executive) trainees, and 12 sessions with ADHD, with weekly sessions.  Neither system requires expensive and uncomfortable Quantitative EEGs (brainmaps).  Both feature dry EEG sensors.

For more information, please check out our website.

One Trainer can be shared by the whole family, class, or clinic, with no per-use or monthly charges.  No license or certification is required to train others with this educational instrument.  We also offer an add-on product, theMood Elevator, based on remarkable published research on improving the depressed feelings of those who are suffering from the blues. 

Training for Mindful Happiness

Dr. Jon Cowan - Friday, January 26, 2018

Practicing mindfulness is not enough to create a happy, healthy, and successful life.  I suggest that you should consider adding happiness enhancement with our Peak BrainHappiness Trainer Pro to your practice.  Why?

A recent issue of Greater Good magazine from UC Berkeley, in collaboration with Lion's Roar, featured a review of the state of research on mindfulness.  It stated "For exam­ple, a 2014 meta-analy­sis pub­lished in JAMA Inter­nal Med­i­cine exam­ined 47 ran­dom­ized con­trolled tri­als of mind­ful­ness med­i­ta­tion pro­grams, which includ­ed a total of 3,515 par­tic­i­pants. They found that med­i­ta­tion pro­grams result­ed only in small to mod­er­ate reduc­tions in anx­i­ety and depres­sion. Fur­ther­more, there was also low, insuf­fi­cient, or no evi­dence of med­i­ta­tion pro­grams’ effect on pos­i­tive mood and feel­ings and sub­stance use (as well as phys­i­cal self-care like eat­ing habits and sleep)."  

The review stated that mindfulness may produce modest improvements in physical health, but they may be due to other factors.  In contrast, we know from large meta-analyses of studies done by Dr. Ed Diener and colleagues that enhancing happiness leads to improved long-term health and success.  Even the Dali Lama, with his emphasis on mindfulness, has written a message subtitled:  "The Purpose of Life Is to Strive for Happiness".  

So why shouldn't we be combining both--training to achieve "happy mindfulness" or "mindful happiness"?  Having trained myself on the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer Pro, I find that I can create moments combining both of these as a result of pure intention--just deciding to do so, and enjoy it.  It isn't hard to do, and it does last for a while after I stop intending.  It really feels good.  Its not just short term...

Mindfulness is related to focused attention, which is one of the dimensions of mental processing the Trainer provides feedback to enhance.  Improved happiness is a result of training our Neureka! dimension.  In fact, our recently published research demonstrating enhanced happiness for at least four months was done with our Peak BrainHappiness feedback screen design, which combines the two.  You need to focus (lightly) on the DVD or video image to keep it bright, and allow it to enhance your happiness and appreciation to make the image larger.  We believe that this approach actually trains the combination of mindfulness and happiness.  Its probably easier to master than traditional mindfulness training, and more useful in your life.   

Along with Dr. Ken Blum, the discoverer of the importance of dopamine in the addictions, we believe that Neureka! training can enhance the proper functioning of the dopamine system in the brain.  Our data suggests that this training may produce a long-term improvement in the "set point" of the happiness system in as few as 12 sessions, just once a week.  It may actually be quicker with more frequent practice, like most learning.  If an addiction-prone individual can be taught to create happiness from their own intention, rather than something outside themselves, this would be extremely helpful in recovery.  

Now I'm not saying that our system is better than or even equal to traditional approaches in teaching pure mindfulness.  I am sure that there are aspects of mindfulness that you can't learn from our Trainer.  However, you can train to enhance your happiness while you practice the mindfulness approaches you favor.  You can set up our system to just provide a sound (a bell) that increases in pitch as you become happier, and adjust the volume to be unobtrusive.  

The system also offers another approach, the Medit-Aider, which allows you to automatically set a success zone for the three dimensions (Focus, Alertness, and Neureka!) and gives you an alarm--a louder sound--when any one is out of range.   

Some people can hold onto their gains for years after only one demonstration--for example, world-famous psychologist Dr. Stanley Krippner, the author of 25 books, stated: "The happiness that emerged from the session has never left me, and I go back to some of the self-monitoring techniques I used during the session to keep me contented, alert, and positive during each day."

By the way, I'm looking for feedback about which title is best--"happy mindfulness" or "mindful happiness"?  Do you think there is a difference in meaning between them?  I'm also looking for potential customers with mindfulness training to try these approaches and provide comments.  

For more information, please check out our website.

One Trainer can be shared by the whole family, class, or clinic, with no per-use charges.  No license or certification is required to train others with this educational instrument.  We also offer an add-on product, the Mood Elevator, based on remarkable published research on improving the depressed feelings of those who are suffering from the blues. 

A parents and therapists dream come true

Dr. Jon Cowan - Tuesday, June 14, 2016
We have just discovered a neurofeedback training system that can improve a child's attention while simultaneously training them to feel happier!  
Dr. Tato Sokhadze and Robert Daniels have just finished writing a paper about the effects of training adolescents with the Neureka! protocol of the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer.  They were aiming to test its ability to improve happiness, but they also measured the changes in the Integrated Visual and Auditory Continuous Performance Test (IVA+Plus) from before to after the 12 sessions of training.  These results were buried somewhere on one of Tato's disc drives until they started the writeup, so I never knew about them.   
I was quite surprised to find that the gains on the IVA+'s attention measures were actually much larger than Tato had found in a previous very successful published study of training adolescents with ADHD!  The Pre to Post Training Gain for the Attention Quotient was 15.64, which is 70% larger and much more significant (p=.006) than the 9.22 Gain in his ADHD study (p=.020) with the FocusedAlert protocol on our Peak Achievement Trainer in the same number (12) of sessions.  Similarly, the Sustained Visual Attention Quotient and Sustained Auditory Attention Quotient were considerably larger and more significant (both p < .011) than the ADHD study!  We all thought those results were remarkable for 12 sessions, but these are better.  The new study also showed a very significant increase (p<.001) in General Cognitive Functioning on another instrument, the MicroCog, largely due to an improvement in memory.  The populations are somewhat different, in that the new experiment trained a combination of normals and adolescents with a drug abuse history, showing few differences between them, but I think the ADHDs should have changed more because they had further to go. 
The researchers were also able to document significant changes in happiness in four different ways.  They used a Continuous Response Dial and asked the participants to change their rating every minute during the 25-minute session.  There were highly significant changes from minute to minute (p<.001), from session to session (p=.039), and from the beginning to the end of training!  These improvements were highly correlated (R=0.64, p<.03) with a remarkably linear improvement in Neureka! from session to session. The fourth way was a happiness questionnaire that changed significantly from pre to post training (p=.038) and actually improved a bit more after 3.9 months (p=.024)!
We know from a review of 157 studies that enhancing present happiness improves future overall health.  Another review showed that it makes people more successful.   
Sure, I'm pushing a lot of numbers on you, but I really want to drive home the point.  These are remarkably powerful changes for 12 sessions, especially in a small study (n=11)!  There's no chance this is by chance.  This points the way to a whole new approach to neurofeedback. 
What is the Neureka! protocol actually measuring?  It is a completely new neurofeedback parameter which clarifies a gamma rhythm at 40 cycles per second, and isolates the "Event Binding Rhythm" (discovered in the 1990s by Llinas) from several contaminants--the only measure that can accurately reflect it.  The brain scans itself 40 times a second, front to back, looking for patterns in the cortical response to perception.  It is actually the rhythm that underlies new learning by bringing the information back to the center of the thalamus, where it is integrated into the awareness of an "Event."  The thalamus then fine-tunes its response so that the next scan it sends focuses in on what may be important, and this process of selective attention continues.  From this perspective, its not surprising that measures of attention improve with Neureka! training, which selectively increases the amplitude and control over the Event Binding Rhythm.   
Its not surprising that the brain was designed to provide a reward for efforts to learn something new.  That's very adaptive for the survival of the individual and the species.  In this case, one of the rewards is feeling happiness and associated emotions.  This probably has a lot to do with activating the dopamine system.  John Starman and I wrote about this several years ago, in a report called "Understanding and Activating Your Brain's Pleasure Centers", which is available by filling in the Inquiry Form on the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer's website.  This will also put you on our mailing list so you will be notified when the paper has been made available.  I intend to fill in considerably more information about Neureka! in future newsletters.   
This combination of emotional and attentive improvements can potentially be useful for certain clinical conditions, ranging from ADHD to Age-Related Cognitive Decline to the Dysthymia associated with Drug Abuse.  The paper that Tato and colleagues recently published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience showing improvements in Autism in 18 sessions used the same protocol and design. 
Perhaps the largest potential market is training for children whose parents want them to be the best that they can be, whether or not they have a diagnosed problem paying attention.  None of the subjects in this study had a diagnosed problem with paying attention.  In fact, the one subject who was found to have ADHD was eliminated from the study. 
Children (of all ages) will enjoy this valuable training because it makes them feel good!  Its a game changer for neurofeedback and a real win-win!

Jonathan D. Cowan, Ph.D.
President and CTO, Peak Achievement Training

*       Manufacturer of the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer and the Peak Achievement Trainer,  

*       1103 Hollendale Way, Goshen, KY 40026
*       Voice: (502) 228-0605
*       Fax: (502) 228-1552

Our Training Approach Produces Faster EEG Changes Again--In Autism

Dr. Jon Cowan - Monday, January 18, 2016

I have never sent out newsletters this frequently before, but I just found out that a new article has been published online in Frontiers in Neuroscience which confirms the effectiveness of our Peak BrainHappiness Training in improving traditionally accepted EEG markers of change, and once again indicates that our measures show larger, more significant changes.  This time the research was done in a far more difficult population--high functioning autistic children.  Our Focused Attention measure was once again improved by the training, and there were less significant decreases in several theta-beta ratios--traditional measures of improved attention, as also seen in Hillard and Sokhadze's ADHD training study

The approach here was somewhat different than the ADHD study, since it simultaneously trained the autistic children to successfully increase Neureka!, our measure of the 40 Hz. rhythm that the brain uses to bind the various cortical changes produced by an event into a meaningful whole--known as the Event Binding Rhythm.  As you might expect, these improvements in EEG functioning were accompanied by significant improvements in Social Withdrawal and Hyperactivity in only 18 sessions. I think the children learned to make better sense of their experiences and therefore respond more appropriately from the combination of Focus and Neureka! training. 

The article, "Relative Power of Specific EEG Bands and Their Ratios during Neurofeedback Training in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder" by Yao Wang, Estate Sokhadze, Ayman El-Baz, Xiaoli Li, Lonnie Sears, Manuel Casanova, and Allan Tasman, was published online in Frontiers in Neuroscience on January 14, in an issue edited by Dr. Rob Coben, an expert on neurofeedback treatment of autism.   Dr. Sokhadze designed the study and trained the clients, which was analyzed and written up by Yao Wang, a graduate student from the People's Republic of China.  Since it is Open Access, we have posted a copy on our website.  Dr. Sokhadze was presented the 2015 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback for this line of studies.

The article states "Our study showed that compared to previous protocols that required more sessions per subject (>30) and a more frequent training rate (e.g., twice per week), the statistically significant improvement either in EEG or in behavioral measures (Sokhadze et al., 2009) can also be achieved within a shorter number of sessions (i.e.,18 NFB sessions in ASD, or even 12 sessions in ADHD, Hillard et al.,2013) and weekly visits."  According to Dr. Sokhadze, "Although we still need to analyze some of the data about changes in social responsiveness, we did see improvements in social withdrawal and hyperactivity.  Apparently the parents felt that their children were improving, because we had no dropouts throughout the course of the 18-session study.  Each autistic child is a very individual case, so it is hard to say how many sessions it will take for the maximum improvement to occur.  The method is certainly worthy of further exploration due to its simplicity, acceptability by the children and parents, and effectiveness even when administered only once a week."

For me, this is another piece in the puzzle that shows that neurofeedback can help autism. Lisette Markham and I presented the first case study of successful neurofeedback treatment of autism, about 22 years ago.  The 8 year old girl, who was diagnosed as autistic by three different agencies, overcame it completely due to our therapy, according to the Indiana University Research Institute on Autism.  She eventually graduated as a rather chatty valedictorian of her high school, and has finished college.  

I have also watched my son overcome his autism, stuttering, and associated epilepsy through years of neurofeedback training as we pilot tested these approaches.  He is now working two jobs, including being a greeter at Meijers.  He developed a lot of enthusiasm for this approach, and ran many sessions on his own.  I think that many high-functioning autistics can be taught to run sessions on their own.  Since we really don't know how many sessions it will take for a child to reach maximum benefit, and we do know that puberty can produce setbacks which require additional sessions, it makes economic sense for parents to invest in a home training unit like the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer, for the entire family.   

The same neurofeedback system, the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer, which features the Neureka! protocol, can be used to increase happiness and health, as described in our last newsletter.  No other system can do either of these.  

The Surgeon General Links Present Happiness With Future Health: The Role of Neurofeedback

Dr. Jon Cowan - Friday, January 15, 2016

The authoritative American Medical Association Wire recently (12/28/15) ran an important story which you may not have seen due to the holiday.  Titled "The Simple Way to Boost Your Health You May Have Overlooked", it clearly stated that there is a link between present-day happiness and future health, echoing the thoughts and research of many positive psychologists over the past few years.   The article is particularly noteworthy because it is based on the conclusions of none other than the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, and quotes his TEDMED presentation quite substantially throughout. 

It has me thinking about adding to our Peak BrainHappiness Trainer labeling:  "Warning:  The Surgeon General Has Determined That Increasing Your Happiness Is Beneficial to Your Health"  :)                                              

Dr. Murthy said he has traveled to various communities throughout the country and has witnessed the unexpected benefits happiness can have on public health.  

“Happiness affects us on a biological level. Happy people have lower levels of cortisol, a key stress hormone,” he said during a presentation at TEDMED 2015. Happy people “have more favorable heart rates and blood pressure levels. They have strong immune systems … and lower levels of inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein that is linked to coronary heart disease. It turns out that even when you control for smoking, physical activity and other health behaviors, happy people live longer. There’s something about happiness that seems to be protective.”

“Now you may ask yourself, ‘Does happiness really lead to better health? Isn’t it the other way around—doesn’t happiness result from good health and favorable circumstance?’” Dr. Murthy said, noting that people often think their happiness hinges upon contingencies, such as losing 15 more pounds, getting a better job or earning more money. 
However, “the truth is that while circumstances can and do impact our short-term happiness, our long-term happiness is far more driven by how we process life events than by the events themselves,” he said. 

The Surgeon General is backing a lot of research performed by positive psychologists, and particularly a meta-analysis performed by Dr. Ed Diener and Rita Chan, which reported that 157 of 160 studies indicated that better health followed increased happiness. Dr. Diener is Senior Scientist at the Gallup Organization and a Professor at the University of Virginia.  

An Erroneous Contrary View

Unfortunately, almost at the same time, the British Journal Lancet published a very large epidemiological study by Bette Liu and colleagues claiming exactly the opposite--that happiness did not affect future death rates.  This was reported on CBS Sunday Morning and elsewhere.  The study contained a number of methodological errors and poor assumptions, and was soon called into question by an OpEd piece in the LA Times, authored by Dr. Diener and his colleagues. I spotted one of the major problems that they referred to and wrote to the author.  It seems that those British women who were unhappiest--those that went to a doctor with complaints and were labelled as depressed or anxious--were considered as having a health problem from the onset of the prospective study, which then examined death rates, and corrected statistically for these health problems.  I wrote to Dr. Liu, who finally pointed me to a Table (#2) in the Appendix in which you can "see effects", according to her.  There is at least a 14% improvement in death rate if you are "happy most of the time" rather than unhappy.  So the original finding that enhanced happiness leads to future improved health stands.  

A Psychobiological Approach to a Psychobiological System

From my perspective, the Surgeon General added his emphasis on a very important part of the puzzle--the relationships between biological and psychological changes that form a very complex web in the relationships between happiness and health.  It is unfortunate that the article did not mention anything about the key role of brain systems involving neuromodulators, particularly dopamine and phenethylamine.  [Perhaps it is in the TEDMED tape, yet to be released.]  It has become clear that increasing the levels of dopamine, which decline with age, increases longevity.  

We believe that one key place to intervene positively in the functioning of this complex web is to enhance the functioning of the Neureka! brain system via the Neureka! neurofeedback training included in our Peak BrainHappiness Trainer.  The Neureka! brain system includes the interaction between a high frequency (40 Hz.) brain rhythm, which increases learning by searching for new connections between aspects of our experiences, and the dopamine reward system's extension into the prefrontal cortex, which rewards you for your efforts to learn. Our data, which has been presented at ISNR, indicates that when you train this system to put out larger Neureka! brain rhythms, this is associated with better memory and long-lasting enhanced happiness.  This can be done in as few as twelve 25-minute sessions once a week, and probably even fewer with more frequent training.  We have also presented data which shows an association between positive feelings and higher amplitude Neureka! rhythms, with as little as 10 seconds of EEG. 
Improving Appreciation, Attitude Towards Life, and Success

The experience of Neureka! training improves your attitude towards life, changing the way you process life events, which the the Surgeon General regards as a key.  When you enhance your Neureka! rhythm, you feel an increased appreciation of the videos being shown on the screen, and the picture responds by enlarging, as shown in the video.  Within a few sessions, this begins to carry over to your overall life experience.  This should produce a stronger effect than many of the positive psychology exercises that the Surgeon General advocates because it works at a deeper, more neurophysiological level.  You can feel your happiness increase within the first few minutes, as you activate the Neureka! system with the help of our biofeedback.    
Dr. Diener's research has also shown that happiness also enhances future success in a number of areas.  People like to be around happy people and and tend to reward them more to maintain the relationship.  
This is clearly a major new frontier for neurofeedback, with the new ability to train clients to improve happiness, health, and even success.  We suggest that  a wide variety of practitioners consider including this in their offerings and their marketing.  Please call us at 800-886-4228 or 502-228-0605 or inquire if you are interested in this new possibility.


Jonathan D. Cowan, Ph.D., BCN
President and CTO, NeuroTek, LLC.

*       Manufacturer of the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer and the Peak Achievement Trainer,  called "The Victor Within:  The Coach Who Will Put You in the Zone" by the New York Times Magazine's special issue on important new technology,  
*       1103 Hollendale Way, Goshen, KY 40026
*       Voice: (502) 228-0605
*       Fax: (502) 228-1552    

Deepak Chopra's Two Types of Happiness

Dr. Jon Cowan - Saturday, August 18, 2012

I recently received a newsletter titled "Be Happy" from the Kalani Oceanside Retreat in Hawaii that contained a real gem of wisdom:

"To find true and lasting happiness is the most common life-long goal of people across the globe.  

What is the source of this desirable state?  

Deepak Chopra states that there are two types of happiness. The first type is a feeling that arises when some external circumstance or event happens in our favor. A great example of this is the feeling of happiness one would experience when winning the lottery. Although the associated feelings are elation and contentment, it is generally a short-lived experience.

The second type of happiness does not rely on external circumstance to cue its existence, but rather, resides in the silence of our being. This type of happiness is what can be considered true happiness, and holds a permanent presence within us all, regardless of our emotional and mental state. 

It has been known by prophets, mystics, yogis, and shamans across the ages that true happiness is not found in the outside world, but to be discovered within.  

By quieting the mind and becoming familiar and comfortable with our inner landscape, we can drop into the experience of simply being, thereby allowing the experience of true happiness to emerge.

May all beings be peaceful.  

May all beings be happy." 

How can those of us who have chosen a busier, less monastic life access that inner feeling of happiness and build it rapidly and effectively?   How can we find and maintain that inner shift which activates the dopamine-based happiness system within the brain-mind?  Its more than "simply being" that allows us to keep the happiness system activated.  After a moment of happiness emerges, there is guidance from within that is necessary in order to learn to recognize it and hold it there, at a higher level of activation.   

At first, you need to make an effort to notice the feeling and then hold it there.  That's where our Neureka! neurofeedback has great value--helping you notice and sustain it at first, so that you can gradually learn to make that shift more clearly and powerfully, as part of your everyday life.  Your happiness builds as you practice, first with the full Peak BrainHappiness Trainer program and then with lower levels of support.  Later, you can use a timer included in our system to remind you to come back to the joyful state, finding it from within.   


As a follower of the Positive Psychology Listserve, who has studied under Dr. Seligman, I have recently been reminded about what it is that they offer as the centerpiece of their practice and research.  This approach is basically inducing Deepak Chopra's first type of happiness, based on circumstances or events created by the particular Positive Psychology Exercise.  It is fleeting and weak.  Little wonder that the effects of these exercises have proven difficult to replicate in research studies.  The effect sizes are small, and procedures that also induce momentary positive feelings seem to be as powerful.   

Our Approach to the Best Type of Happiness

Now you can use a simple, scientifically proven approach to increase anyone's happiness, by training their brain with brainwave biofeedback using the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer .  

It's as simple as sitting in front of a computer for twelve 25-minute sessions--just five hours-- watching beautiful videos.   You pick your own DVDs or select from five joyful DVDs and CDs that come with the system. 

Research shows when you feel good feelings, such as happiness and love, the brain produces more of a type of brainwave we call Neureka!    This corresponds to the emergence of the feeling of happiness.  New studies (see below) show people can easily learn to increase the amount of that type of brainwave.   The Trainer processes the brainwave signal, and measures the amount of Neureka!   The more Neureka! brainwaves you produce, the more good feelings, like joy, satisfaction, and gratitude, you feel, and the larger the beautiful video's picture gets.  

After you develop an understanding of how to create the shift to the feeling of happiness, we suggest that you eliminate the audiovisual stimuli and just guide yourself with the feedback from the increasing and decreasing Neureka! brainwaves.  You will discover that you still have control over your inner experience and the resulting brainwaves. 

Later, you can help to transfer this control to the rest of your life by carrying a timer that you set to vibrate at a comfortable interval, reminding you to turn on your happiness system every few minutes.  After some time training, you won't need any of these aids to be happier, but they will still help if you want to go further. 

If you know someone who could really enjoy life more, but who doesn't seem to have a really positive attitude, the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer will make a major difference in their life.  

Everyone in the family can use and appreciate the effects of a gift like this on themselves, and the others will appreciate how much more loving and happy they will become.  

Neureka! Clearly Measures Positive Feelings 

Dr. Estate Sokhadze and I have recently completed two studies which he conducted at the University of Louisville Department of Psychiatry.  We found quite a bit of evidence to support the idea that Neureka! can respond to positive feelings like joy, pleasure, delight, happiness and love. 

The Neureka! output became larger when the subjects felt positive feelings for as little as 6 seconds. It did not go up when they felt the negative or the neutral feelings used in the study.

For details on these experiments, visit this page.

University Study Shows That Peak BrainHappiness Training Enhances Mood, Thinking, and Memory

The benefits of Peak BrainHappiness Training in Dr. Sokhadze's next study were even more powerful than I anticipated.  He trained 11 subjects for 12 sessions of neurovideofeedback, each 25 minutes long--that's just five hours of total training. 

The results showed that after training, the subjects reported they were much happier, and they scored much better on the Beck Depression Inventory .  The happiness measure that we used was the same as the one used by the Australian Household Income and Labor Dynamics Survey reported in the article by Siahpush and associates that I summarized in a previous newsletter.  They showed that a higher happiness score in 2001 predicted a 50% improvement in health in 2004.  This study supports the idea that Peak BrainHappiness Training can increase your long-term health .

Furthermore, the results on the MicroCog test of mental ability were quite remarkable.  It showed very significant enhancements in general cognitive functioning, information processing accuracy, and memory. 

Basically, people became happier, smarter and less depressed after training their brain with the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer!


For all of the details and numbers, please visit this page.  

Improved Happiness is Long Lasting

The key point to remember is that the improvements in happiness are long-lasting.  Four months after the twelve sessions, the group's happiness ratings were still just as high!  They had learned to be happy and to maintain it without any further effort.  Isn't that what you want and deserve?   The technology to achieve this is here now.  Why wait?

The Remarkable Kalani Oceanside Resort

Its really not surprising to find such a well written gem in Kalani's Newsletter.  Kalani is, after all, a remarkably wonderful growth center--the largest retreat center in Hawaii.  They offer a wide variety of programs of their own and host many for other organizations.  I visited there several years ago for a very powerful reunion of Gay Luce's Nine Gates Program, which ended with a remarkable night communing with the godess Pele on the floes of the nearby volcano.  Perhaps my fondest memory was the Watsu water massage session in their very special pool.  Yes, its only Type 1 happiness, but it is a very powerful induction!

For more information about our Peak BrainHappiness Trainer, click here

Enhancing Your Happiness by Changing Your Brain

Dr. Jon Cowan - Sunday, August 12, 2012
Finding the Principal Basis of Happiness
As a multidisciplinary researcher not supported by a university or foundation, I have the opportunity to look at this from a more complete perspective, rather than being tied to the discipline I paid my academic dues to.  In my lifetime, I have used many different types of research hammers, so I see that there are a wide variety of nails--that is, purported causes of happiness.  
To begin to approach this question, you have to refine the time frame.  Life is made up of moments, and your happiness during each of them could actually be rated on some scale.  Now suppose you average that scale over the next few minutes, few hours, or several days.  On a longer scale, you can look at the next few months, or even a lifetime.  Each of these measurements of happiness is really somewhat different, so we have to pick one.  I think that for most of us, our time horizon focuses on the next few days, perhaps a week at most. 
Social and Cultural Influences

To approach this, I reviewed the information from the National Geographic Project on Happiness, and particularly the thoughts of Dan Buettner, the author of "Thrive: Finding Happiness the Blue Zones Way".  He researched the causes of happiness in four locations that scored highest in the world--Denmark, Singapore, Mexico, and San Luis Obispo.  He found very little in common among the causes in these places, indicating that the effects are rather weak.  In an interview, he pointed out the importance of developing a social network for happiness, but noted that the data indicates that having children to create one does not pay off in overall increased happiness for at least the first 18 years.  "It's a multivariable equation" --the most important things  over all the nations are trust in the legal system (low corruption), tolerance, green spaces, and lack of noise. 

Psychobiology is the Most Important Basis

All of these effects, however, are rather weak.  They point to the idea that we need to be looking elsewhere for a really powerful explanation.  My perspective is that we need to look at biology much more seriously as a cause of happiness, and examine the role and causes of individual psychobiological variability rather than sociocultural factors.  In particular, we know that the dopamine system in the brain is a key to the development of pleasure responses.  This was first pointed out by James Olds.  Kenneth Blum has done an excellent job in framing the "Reward Deficiency Syndrome", implicating low dopamine levels as the cause for drug, food, gambling, and sex addictions.  Each of these produce an initial dopaminergic rush, particularly in those who are not genetically prone to being naturally happy.  
The Reward and Pleasure Circuit

Now, David Linden, a professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins and the editor of the Journal of Neuroscience, has written a new popular book,  "The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning and Gambling Feel So Good", in which he attributes these positive feelings to the activation of the dopaminergic circuits in the medial forebrain pleasure circuit.  He points out the connections between the prefrontal cortex and the VTA (ventral tegmental area), the part of the brain originally implicated by James Old's research.  The book is excellent, although a bit technical at times.  
Sound familiar?  We've been talking about the "Prefrontal Pleasure Center", and stating that enhancing the Neureka! rhythm activates it, for quite some time.  Our conviction about this increased considerably when Prof. Blum tried out the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer and declared that it measured the effects of dopamine.  There is a close link between the dopaminergic Prefrontal Pleasure Center, new learning, and positive feelings that are used to encourage it.  The behavioral and experiential ramifications become highly complex as more and more responses are learned and linked to the pleasure circuit.  No wonder that a very recent study indicates that as we get older the "set point" of happiness is more affected by environmental effects and less by genetics.  This goes along with the viewpoints expressed by Bruce Lipton in his fascinating book "The Biology of Belief".  He argues that our experiences, and particularly our beliefs about them, have a strong epigenetic influence on the many ways in which our genetic inheritance is expressed.  I agree that these events and thought patterns are important determinants of which genetic tendencies are actually expressed.

As I have recently written to you, there are also very important consequences for health and success that result from activating the Prefrontal Pleasure Center with the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer.

Large improvements in ADHD in only 12 sessions

Dr. Jon Cowan - Friday, February 03, 2012

Recent results using the Peak Achievement Trainer to improve a group of 11 ADHD teenagers have reported outstanding results for just 12 sessions of neurofeedback.  Tato Sokhadze's data has been published in the AAPB's Biofeedback magazine.   This data was also presented at an AAPB meeting and locally here, where it won First Prize in a research contest.  So here's a summary of the high points. 

There were quite significant improvements in both our Focus and Alertness measurements over the 12 sessions:
Dr.  Sokhadze also published the minute-to-minute changes for the 25 minutes of the first and 12th sessions.  More recently, further analysis is showing major shifts in alpha to theta and beta to theta ratios, even though these were not being directly trained.  I'll share those later. 
These EEG changes were accompanied by large and significant improvements in IVA+ scores--25% in Visual, 41% in auditory.
There were also improvements in the Aberrant Behavior Checklist:
*  Lethargy/Social Withdrawal score decreased from
             10.1(7.4) to 7.0 (6.9), t=2.48, df=10, p=0.021
*   Hyperactivity score decreased from
            14.3 (14.6) to 12.0 (11.1),  t=2.21, p=0.041;
*    Inappropriate Speech score decreased from
            2.25 (2.4) to  1.3 (1.8) , t=2.96, df=10, p=0.009.
Dr. Sokhadze concluded: 

"In my experience, this is a really fast result, because usually more training sessions (>18) are recommended for successful management of attention symptoms in ADHD. This particular type of brainwave neurofeedback can be used both in ADHD and healthy subjects to improve behavioral performance, focused concentration, and alertness."

This system can be used by both professionals and parents at home.  If you're interested in more information about the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer and the three dimensions of mental functioning it trains, click here and explore our website.  To submit an inquiry for potential purchase and pricing questions, click this link


Jonathan D. Cowan, Ph.D., BCN
President and CTO, NeuroTek, LLC.

*       Manufacturer of the Peak BrainHappiness Trainer and the Peak Achievement Trainer,  called "The Victor Within:  The Coach Who Will Put You in the Zone" by the New York Times Magazine's special issue on important new technology,  
*       1103 Hollendale Way, Goshen, KY 40026
*       Voice: (502) 228-0605
*       Fax: (502) 228-5228




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Simplifying Our Training

Dr. Jon Cowan - Thursday, January 05, 2012

When I first introduced the Peak Achievement Trainer back in 1998, one of the important parts was a video that explained the Training and how to perform the first session.  It was an extremely helpful video, and a pioneering idea.  I remember receiving a spontaneous compliment from Dr. Joel Lubar, the original researcher of neurofeedback training for ADHD.  I always intended to add to the video library, but due to staffing changes I lost access to our excellent producer.  Then we changed equipment and kept developing new protocols, so the original video became largely irrelevant.

Lately, I've decided to go back to the idea of producing a series of video guides for our Peak BrainHappiness Training system, using the Camtasia program to combine video showing the activities of a user and screen capture.   I think it will be really helpful for a new market we are now pursuing, wellness and senior centers.  I believe all future products for mass markets will need to combine neurofeedback and video training. 

Undertaking video production has definitely been a learning process, far more complex than I consciously anticipated.  I think my unconscious knew the complexity all too well and has been successfully avoiding the process for years.  Perhaps the most difficult part of this for my associate, JD, and I, is putting ourselves back in the heads of a naive user, and figuring out what they need to know, then writing it in the best order.  We really want to get it right the first time, because its such a hassle to do it again.  What's the best order for sessions and training?

So I'm really open to any suggestions and help from anyone with some time and ideas.  If you're interested, I can share our scripts for review.