Does the Muse headband really detect "meditation"?

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I’ve been using the Muse meditation headband for years (bought the 2017 version, still works), and was somewhat skeptical about it, but it did seem to correlate its noise and birds chirping with periods of me thinking actively vs. being calmly focused on my breath.

However, I did notice that sometimes sessions were hopelessly noisy, but if I re-adjusted the band and restarted, I had “great” focus. Muse blames that on the fit and tension in the neck. OK.

Today for some reason I decided to open my eyes during a session, and just look around the room. I was lying back, so I raised my neck, kept it tense, and looked around the room, while noticing the birds started chirping. And they kept chirping. I was puzzled. My neck was tense, I was thinking “What the heck is going on”, but the birds kept chirping. After a minute, the birds stopped and I put my head back down. Then I did the exercise again, for another minute. Tense neck, looking around the room, thinking about writing this post. The birds kept chirping.

This is a screenshot of the session.

And here’s zooming into those tense-neck looking-around-the-room “meditation” moments (apologies for the lousy stick figures):

image

Muse thought I was very calm during those session. I think I was far more meditative before that 6 minute mark at which I started this experiment.

Has anyone else had any similar experiences with Muse? Do you still trust it?

Using face muscles or even moving your eyes around overwhelms the EEG signal. Would be nice if devices gave you some indication when they are unable to get good readings, instead of confidently producing garbage data…

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