Question from a Trainer – Normative database

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“A cohort who does LORETA training, recently posted this comment regarding the TLC QWIZ and I couldn’t answer. Do you have a response?

“What is the normative database and is it 19 channel. That’s probably the biggest concern when doing qEEG. If the normative database isn’t well established scientifically then the results are skewed. Also in order for it to be quantitative it has to be 19-channel.”

The REAL “biggest concerns”

Actually it sounds like your colleague has bought one approach to brain training hook-line-and-sinker–apparently without really understanding it.  The closing comment “in order for it to be quantitative, it has to be 19-channel” is like saying that in order to be a dog it has to have long hair.

Quantitative simply means defining something by its quantity rather than its quality. By his definition, he is excluding all the research done with 16-channel, 32-channel, 64-channel and 128-channel quantitative EEG’s.

It sounds like what he really means is that only the way HE learned is right. This approach is not uncommon when someone has already spent an obscene amount of money ($10,000+) for a system. The idea that someone might get the same or better results for $4,000, well you can see that a person might not want to consider that possibility.

This kind of definition of “Science” as a religion is unfortunately very common these days—especially among those who get into complex fields and hope to buy expertise—but for all his dogmatism, your colleague is missing some of the REALLY important questions that are often ignored by those who sell themselves as scientists:

1. If you want to train people’s brains, the biggest question is “how many come to you saying ‘I want to be average in every way.’?”  I’ve never had it happen in 23 years of training, but then I usually ask the client rather than simply deciding that he/she needs to be trained to match a “normative” database. Imagine if Einstein had gone to your colleague. His brain would likely have huge differences from a “normal” (which just means “average”).  It would present a huge challenge to the database.

2. Who decided there even IS such a thing as a “normal” brain?! Statistical techniques used for quality control on manufactured parts don’t necessarily apply to the most complex, adaptive, idiosyncratic system in the universe.  Does your colleague truly believe that an accountant and a poet have the same brain?! If they don’t, which is normal?  Do we train everyone to be poets?  Or accountants?  Or do we flatten everyone out so no one is particularly good at anything?  I believe every brain is an individual, adaptive, self-reinforcing response to the experience it has encountered from the womb on, based on its own particular set of tools.

What about databases?

Is your colleague aware that, despite the fact that it is well-recognized that there are significant gender differences in the brains of men and women, the databases lump them all together?  Producing and selling a database is a business.  To have enough males and females in each age cohort to make a statistically-valid comparison, you’d need nearly to double the cost, so it didn’t happen. There’s not even an “average” man or “average” woman.  There’s only an “average” person.

Why is the emergence of Gamma as an important frequency so recent?  That’s easy.  The amplifiers used 30 years ago to gather these databases didn’t measure anywhere near 40 Hz.  The whole database is MISSING one of the frequencies we now recognize to be critical. How do people’s brains look when they are working (at task)?  Seems like that would be important, right? The main (heavily marketed) databases didn’t measure it, so your colleague can’t compare it with his clients.

When your colleague assesses the brain of an 8-year-old today, does it concern him at all that the “normal” brains against which he’s comparing were in kids who had never heard of the internet, didn’t have a laptop or smartphone or texting or social media or cable TV. Maybe they had only one working parent and perhaps a family that stayed together for most of their lives.  Obviously he can just decide scientifically that those things won’t matter.  Kids today are just like kids were 30 years ago, right?  But what if they’re not?

How many Germans/Swiss/Austrians are in the database?  How many Orientals are in it?  How many Africans or Indians?  He can just assume that measuring a bunch of Americans will give you a good picture of humanity–especially if you are American–but impression is that there are pretty significant cultural differences in the “normal” brains of these people.

Pattern-Based Training

Perhaps your colleague will begin to consider the validity of the entire concept of trying to cram everyone’s brains through a statistical keyhole. I know it’s easy and you don’t have to think much to do it, but it’s simply NOT in the best interests of the individual human beings who come to a trainer to change their lives. He might consider that, even if there WERE a “normal” brain and everyone wanted to have one, the use of the databases which form the center of his religion are shot through with holes that the “scientists” prefer not to talk about.

At brain-trainer, we measure the same 20 sites on the head, eyes-closed, eyes-open and at task in 15-20 minutes. We don’t compare people against any kind of a database. We seek stable activation patterns that have been defined in QEEG-based research as correlating with certain types of symptom constellations.  We don’t look at the brain via thousands of micro measures; we look for the macro patterns that guide its operation.  We don’t compare the brain against “average” to determine our training approach. We prefer to aim toward the “peak” brain that has been studied for as long as there have been QEEG’s.

We don’t bury the trainer under high-priced research equipment and software. Our system is accessible, integrated, practical and easy to use. We want the trainer to focus on the client, not the technology. Our motto is “by trainers for trainers”.  If he wants to help people change their lives, he’s bought an 18-wheeler to drive to the store and pick the kids up after school.

Our goal is to help the brain gain flexibility, break up old habit patterns, and improve its ability to achieve and sustain specific energy approaches to operation that will help it work at its best no matter what the client wants to do with it.  We want our clients to become as non-average as they want to be!

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One Response to “Question from a Trainer – Normative database”

  1. Alonso Franco

    Congratulations: In short and wise words you have identified a lot of what is missing in our field. Many of our companions are working basically for the money and not for the client´s health. The arguments for z score training are Hitlerian (all brains shall be molded according one standard). As you say, what about Einstein training z score?. The best is as you indicate: compare against ourselves and train to downtrain frequencies responsible for our weakness while increasing frequencies responsible for our strong points. (Excuse the simplistic way of presenting it). I support you stating one can make QEEG on just one point. Remember: primal work in this field was made with excellent results by Sterman and Lubar working with feedback just on C4 or Cz, and recently Swingle states one can learn a lot about a person just watching one point in the cortex. Best regards

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