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  • Writer's pictureDallas Shepard

Understanding Brain Function: Discover Your Mind's Potential with the 10-20 System

The human brain is an intricate and powerful organ that orchestrates our every thought, memory, movement, and sensation. Catering to everyone from enthusiasts to the generally health-conscious, at Harmonized Brain Centers we dive deep into the fascinating world of brain health and functionality. Specifically, we explore the 10-20 brain sites commonly used in neurofeedback and explain their roles in our daily lives.




Brain Lobes
Brain Lobes

Before we talk about the 10-20 system, the human brain is a complex structure divided into several regions, each responsible for various aspects of cognitive and bodily functions. Among these, the frontal lobe plays a critical role in executive function, decision making, problem-solving, and controlling behavior. It's the seat of our creativity, ability to plan, and our social behaviors. The parietal lobe, located just behind the frontal lobe, specializes in processing sensory information from the body, making it essential for understanding objects' shapes, sizes, and distances. It is also responsible for cognitive processing. Meanwhile, the occipital lobe, positioned at the back of the brain, is primarily concerned with visual processing, interpreting everything we see along with our autonomic nervous system. The temporal lobes, found on each side of the brain, are key to processing auditory and emotional information and are also involved in memory storage. Each of these lobes interacts seamlessly, contributing to the incredibly sophisticated processing capability of the human brain, from interpreting sensory information to abstract thinking and emotional regulation.

The brain is also broken down into two hemispheres: The left hemisphere and the right hemisphere. The part that connects the hemispheres is call the corpus callosum.

Introduction to Brain Sites and Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback is a cutting-edge biofeedback technique that monitors the brain's activity and provides real-time feedback, helping individuals enhance their cognitive performance and manage various psychological conditions by reading the electrical activity from the brain through an electroencephalogram (Raw EEG) by placing an electrode on the scalp and reading the electrical impulses from the surface of your brain (cerebral cortex). We utilize the 10-20 system of brain sites (21 areas on the skull)— each corresponding to different functions and behaviors.



Brain Functional Areas
Brain Functional Areas

The 10-20 system is a method used to identify and measure specific brain function sites for neurofeedback practices. It is based on the measurement of distances between landmarks on the scalp, using percentages of certain standard distances as reference points. This allows for consistent placement of electrodes in the same locations across individuals, aiding in accurate measurements and analysis.

The system divides the head into specific regions, each designated by a letter and number combination. The letters correspond to the different lobes of the brain (F for frontal lobe, T for temporal lobes, C for sensory motor strip, P for parietal lobe, O for occipital lobe), while the numbers represent either odd or even sites on the left and right sides of the brain.

For example, F3 corresponds to site 3 on the left frontal lobe, while T4 refers to site 4 on the right temporal lobe. This system also includes sites that target specific functions within these regions, such as O1 and O2 for visual processing or P3 and P4 for reading skills.

By using this standardized system, researchers and practitioners can more accurately locate and measure brain function sites, making it easier to monitor changes and progress in neurofeedback training. It also allows for better communication and comparison of results among different studies and clinics.

Overall, the 10-20 system is an essential tool in understanding and optimizing brain function by providing a consistent measurement method for neurofeedback practices. So, it plays a crucial role in advancing our knowledge about the brain and improving our overall well-being.

Let's unravel the mysteries of these sites and understand how they impact our mental wellness.

Specific Brain Site Functions:

FP1 - Individuals who are facing difficulties with focus, whether due to attention deficit issues or other factors, as well as those who are dealing with depression or related mental health challenges, may find this site particularly relevant and beneficial to their needs.

FPZ (Frontoparietal Cortex) - Crucial for decision-making processes and managing stress, the frontoparietal cortex plays a vital role in executive functions such as attention, working memory, and cognitive control. By orchestrating these cognitive processes, the FPZ helps individuals make informed decisions and cope with stressful situations effectively.

FP2 - Focuses on addressing various challenges related to anxiety, addiction, and impulsivity. With a comprehensive approach, this solution aims to provide effective strategies and interventions to help individuals overcome these issues and improve their overall well-being.

The FZ technique, also known as the "Focused Zone," is central to enhancing task focus, organizational skills, self-control, and memory retention. By leveraging specific strategies and techniques, such as time-blocking and prioritization, individuals can optimize their productivity and achieve better results in their daily activities. The FZ method provides a structured approach to help individuals stay on track, manage their time effectively, and maintain a high level of performance throughout the day.

F3: This region of the brain is associated with the organization and planning of motor functions specifically for the right side of the body. It plays a crucial role in coordinating and executing movements, such as fine motor skills and precise muscle control. Understanding the intricate workings of F3 can provide valuable insights into the complexities of human motor control and neurological functioning.

F4 - This key is similarly important for enhancing organizational skills and motor planning, particularly on the left side of the brain. By engaging with the F4 key, individuals can improve their cognitive abilities and fine-tune their coordination and dexterity, leading to enhanced performance in various tasks and activities.

The F7 key, when used in verbal expression, has the potential to significantly impact our communication. It serves as a powerful tool that can enhance our ability to convey information effectively and efficiently. By incorporating this key into our communication practices, we can optimize our expression and ensure clear and concise delivery of ideas.

The F8 key is an integral part of how we express our emotions on a computer. With just a simple keystroke, it allows us to convey a wide range of feelings and reactions, from laughter to surprise, and everything in between. Whether we're chatting with friends, sharing our thoughts on social media, or participating in online discussions, the F8 key plays a crucial role in adding depth and nuance to our digital interactions.

T3 - (left temporal lobe) Aids in verbal memory, a cornerstone of communication and recollection. By leveraging the power of T3, individuals can improve their memory and retention abilities, making it easier to recall information and communicate effectively with others. This can be particularly beneficial in various professional settings, such as presentations, meetings, and interviews, where strong verbal memory skills are crucial for success. Additionally, T3 can also enhance one's ability to learn new languages, as it facilitates the memorization and recall of vocabulary and grammar rules. By incorporating T3 into daily routines, individuals can unlock their full potential in verbal communication and memory tasks.

T4 (right temporal lobe) - Similar to T3, this site focuses on long-term verbal memory and language skills. It helps individuals process complex information and convert it into meaningful communication. With training and practice, individuals can enhance their linguistic

The T4 site, intricately connected to emotional memory and trauma, holds significant influence over our cognitive processing of stressful incidents. It plays a crucial role in shaping our responses and perceptions, helping us navigate and make sense of the complex emotions that arise from such experiences.

The T5 (left temporal lobe) task focuses on verbal recall, which plays a crucial role in both visual and auditory learning. It involves the ability to retrieve and reproduce information that has been previously learned or presented through verbal means. This cognitive process is vital for consolidating knowledge and facilitating effective learning across different modalities.

The T6 (right temporal lobe) neural pathway is responsible for engaging with emotional processing and motivation. It plays a crucial role in regulating and influencing our feelings, motivations, and behaviors. By understanding and harnessing the power of this pathway, we can gain deeper insights into human emotions and motivations, paving the way for advancements in psychology and neuroscience.

The C3 (sensory motor strip) region of the brain plays a crucial role in managing sensory information and maintaining balance for all right-side body parts. This area is responsible for processing and integrating sensory inputs, ensuring smooth coordination and proprioception for optimal movement and control. By effectively managing and interpreting sensory signals, C3 helps us navigate the world around us and maintain equilibrium in our daily activities.

CZ (sensory motor strip)- Sensory experiences play a crucial role in our daily lives, influencing how we perceive and interact with the world around us. Balance, for instance, is not only essential for physical stability but can also impact our overall well-being. Additionally, it has been found that imbalances in sensory processing can be associated with social anxiety, highlighting the intricate connection between our senses and mental health.

C4 (sensory motor strip)- Similar to C3, but specifically targeting the left side of the body and improving balance. This exercise is designed to enhance coordination, strength, and stability on the left side, contributing to overall body symmetry and control.

P3 (parietal lobe)  - Plays a crucial role in enhancing reading skills, fostering creativity, and improving comprehension abilities. It is a fundamental aspect that contributes to overall cognitive development and enables individuals to engage more deeply with written information, think critically, and express themselves effectively.

The PZ (parietal lobe) technique is known for stimulating deeper thinking and can sometimes be associated with overthinking habits. By encouraging a more thorough examination of ideas and concepts, it prompts individuals to delve into the complexities and nuances of their thoughts. However, it is important to strike a balance and avoid getting caught up in excessive analysis, as it can hinder progress and decision-making.

P4 (parietal lobe) - Assists in analytical thinking and problem-solving, making it a valuable resource during math and science activities. Whether it's deciphering complex equations or unraveling scientific phenomena, P4 is there to provide guidance and support, helping students develop critical thinking skills and excel in their academic pursuits.

O1 (occipital lobe)- This module specifically targets visual processing through the right eye, aiming to enhance and optimize the brain's ability to interpret and analyze visual information. By focusing on this aspect, individuals can potentially improve their visual perception and overall cognitive performance.

OZ (occipital lobe)- Connected to bodily awareness and functions, the Oz component of this system plays a vital role in regulating various physiological processes (autonomic nervous system). It influences not only sleep patterns, breathing, blood pressure, body temperature but also functions related to incontinence and heart rate control. By actively monitoring and managing these bodily functions, Oz ensures a harmonious balance within the body, optimizing overall well-being and health.

O2 (occipital lobe)- This region of the brain is responsible for processing visual information received specifically through the left eye, including recognizing shapes, colors, and patterns. It plays a crucial role in our overall visual perception and understanding of the world around us.




Brain Functional Areas
Brain Functional Areas

Our exploration into the various brain sites, specifically highlighted within the 10-20 system used for neurofeedback, sketches out a fascinating map of how different parts of the brain influence our daily abilities and well-being. From processing sensory information and enhancing balance (C3, CZ, C4) to fostering cognitive skills such as reading and analytical thinking (P3, PZ, P4), the roles these areas play are integral to our overall functionality. The temporal and occipital lobes, with their responsibility for processing emotional and visual inputs, further demonstrate the brain's complexity in shaping our perception and emotional experiences. While we've touched on a number of key brain sites, it's important to note that the brain is an intricate network comprised of many other regions not covered in this blog. Each site has its unique contribution, and neurofeedback aims to measure and help individuals self-regulate the brain's activity across these various regions, encouraging optimal mental health and cognitive performance. This brief overview offers a glimpse into the potential that neurofeedback holds for enhancing our understanding and control over our mental and emotional well-being through targeted brain training.

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