EEG for self-experimentation: Who's with me?

Hi there!

At the QS conference in Amsterdam later this month there will be a breakout-session with the title: ''A guide to EEG for self-experimentation" and I’m absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to lead through it and prepare some material for the community. Whether you’re actually attending the conference or whether you’ve just clicked the link out of sheer curiosity, I’d like to know what spikes your interest in this topic the most. EEG is a very large topic to cover, and there are a lot methods, theories and practical stuff you can share without really becoming boring. However, we only have an hour for the breakout-session. :wink:

As the main goal of all this is to create value for the community, I’d like to ask you, the dear readers and writers of this forum:
What is the main interest of QS members in EEG?
What do you want to achieve with the help of EEG, what do you expect from it?
Also, what have you maybe already done with it?
How did you do it, did you have sweet hardware, a nice analysis or a worthwhile experimental design?
Or did you try something, but stumbled somewhere along the way?
What have you learned from it and what do you still want to learn from it?

Hi Martin! I haven’t used any EEG devices yet, but I am very interested in it. I am big on improving productivity and I have a satisfactory to me workflow setup atm, but am interested in improving quality of concentration. I am also a meditator and am hoping that EEG can help me with the practice. I have been looking at the Muse headbands, but am worried about the precision of the data. Lately, I have been leaning more towards the Emotive Epoch+. The Emotive might require a bit more setup though and maintenace though, so I am not ready to take the plunge in either just yet.

Do you have any advice or reading material on the topic?

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Using EEG for self experimentation sounds really interesting. I have the same goals as you @petioptrv: I want to improve concentration, and maybe see if I can find patterns in distracted vs flow-state thinking.

Self-experiments can be incredibly powerful, but they’re hard to run with honest statistical results. I’m currently on a team building a web platform for QSers to run exactly these sorts of self experiments. You connect your wearable devices thru our website (future support for other data like Blood/Gut microbiome/DNA tests) and we have a set of experiments you can run. We’re focusing intently on making the experiments ‘causally sound’ which requires recent N=1 statistical methods that we’re developing with researchers at our university.
Go ahead and sign up here and I’d love to help you design an experiment for yourself.

Also @petioptrv I’ve already found links between my sleep duration (Fitbit) and productivity scores (RescueTime). Turns out, I am more productive when I get my 8 hours.

Best, Kastan

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Very interesting Kastan. Interesting product! I am a software developer and was thinking of starting a project exactly like Memento Labs for fun. One thing though, that I have started to notice lately, is that it’s a lot easier and more effective for me to start off with a planned experiment in mind and only then seek the tools to collect the data, as opposed to having a wealth of data first and then fish for insights in it. Now that you guys are the ones doing the fishing for me, I am curious what insights will show up!

I went through the registration process and signed up for Typeform, but I don’t know how to go about accessing the Memento Labs product from this point on. What should I do next?

Thanks for signing up!

You’re absolutely right about finding insights: running a planned experiment is the much more effective thing to do. Yet, to get the most out of our experiments we’ve had success using correlations in our historical data as a starting point for experimentation. Some pretty great correlations pop up, then we drill down into causation. We need to update the landing page.

Experimental design is a major consideration, and is often different between each potential intervention - we have to consider lag onset effects, and lag termination effects (when the effects of, for example meditation, persist after the intervention is stopped). The easiest & quickest self-experiments are with interventions like coffee/modafinil for focus or magnesium for sleep that have same-day onset and termination.

The app is in a closed alpha right now - we only wanted to invite self-motivated self trackers/experimenters first. I see your signup and I’ll send you an app invite now. Looking forward to talking experiments!

Anyone else who want’s to try tweaking their life with self-experiments I’d love to work with you to design a simple but statistically rigorous experiment for whatever goal you have! Each experiment requires a slightly different design, but it’s so satisfying to see causal relationships in your own life.

Possible interventions to try:

  • Intermittent fasting - good mental clarity + focus benefits. A personal favorite.
  • Drugs: Coffee, Zinc, Modafinil
  • Sleep interventions: consistent sleep schedule, melatonin/magnesium
  • Meditation
  • Avoid alcohol/weed
  • Anything you want!

Possible outcomes to measure:

  • Productivity score (RescueTime)
  • Focus score (our calculations from RescueTime data)
  • Fitbit data: sleep quality or duration.
  • EEG data?
  • Subjective self-scoring: mood, stress, producvitity