Last modified: Feb 18, 2017
Global Broad Band Synchronization (GBBS) and TAG Sync Neurofeedback:
“At the heart of the universe is a steady, insistent beat: the sound of cycles in sync. It pervades nature at every scale
from the nucleus to the cosmos.” says Steven Strogatz . It was not clearly recognized until recently that the EEG
also exhibits GBBS because the design of standard “differential” EEG amplifiers automatically removes signals that are
shared in common over multiple sites.
Thus in 2009 Pocket et al  state "...long-range phase synchrony really is a hallmark of consciousness... Our results
confirm this prediction, and suggest that consciousness may involve not only gamma frequencies, but the whole range
from theta to epsilon," and "In fact the suggestion that theta/alpha or theta/alpha/beta synchrony is global while gamma
or beta/gamma-synchrony is local has already been negated by numerous reports of long-range gamma synchrony
coinciding with various conscious experiences."
The Icon: Bait balls, Flocks, and Gracefulness:
The icon I have chosen for GBBS is that of a school of fish synchronizing to form a huge “bait ball” to protect
themselves from a predator. Birds also can create fantastic flocks that resemble huge forms in the sky. How the
synchronous behavior emerges is not known. The movements can be sudden yet graceful, and the ultimate organizing
principle of such behavior is not understood. If predator stress continues, the bait ball can split into two or more smaller
ensembles. The smaller ensembles then experience different outcomes and thus become epigenetically divergent
leading to difficulties reuniting.
The head on the left shows the sudden synchrony of acts of
body, energy (speech), and mind that can 1) protect individual
members from predator stress, or 2) synchronize all
components to avoid falling when we stumble, or 3) turning
problems into happiness or insight. The question mark
suggests the openness that exists between stimulus and
response. The global broad band synchronization is visible as
gracefulness and may be experienced as a state of grace.
Such synchrony harnesses complexity for adaptation.
Overwhelming stress, chronic stress, or loss of network
support and loss of neuroplasticity can cause breakdown of
communication between networks. Effectively the
synchronized bait ball has been split. We have discussed this in looking at the effect of sickness behavior on small
world networks and complexity.
“ ... results strongly suggest that human brain functional systems exist in an endogenous state of dynamical criticality,
characterized by a greater than random probability of both prolonged periods of phase-locking and occurrence of large
rapid changes in the state of global synchronization, analogous to the neuronal ‘‘avalanches’’ previously described in
cellular systems. Moreover, evidence for critical dynamics was identified consistently in neurophysiological systems
operating at frequency intervals ranging from 0.05–0.11 to 62.5–125 Hz, confirming that criticality is a property of
human brain functional network organization at all frequency intervals in the brain’s physiological bandwidth.”
Kitzbichler et al 2009 
Global Broad Band Synchronization and Cross-Frequency Coupling (CFC):
Imagine three studios separated by soundproof walls. In
studio “T” musicians play the low frequency instruments, in
studio “A” the mid-frequency instruments and in studio “G”
the high frequency instruments. Above each group we see
the changes in volume (amplitude) of the sound over a
period of 10 seconds recorded by separate microphones in
each room. Note in this particular case the amplitudes, as
expected, are unrelated. In studio “T” the low frequency
amplitude increases over a period of 10 seconds, in studio
“A” the amplitude stays the same for those 10 seconds, and
in studio “G” the amplitude decreases over time.
Now (below) notice how the amplitudes of the different frequencies might vary together (CFC) when the chambers are
no longer separated and the conductor appears.
Notice in this particular 10 second recording the the amplitude of all three frequency bands rise and fall together. This
is called cross-frequency coupling (CFC). Please see the section on CFC here: [CFC].
In the disconnected studios without a conductor (left top) the
amplitudes of the different frequency bands in the different
rooms vary individually without synchronization between them.
When there is a conductor (left bottom) the amplitudes of the
different frequency bands can move together over time. In
the sound spectrum CFC is one of the ways we tell if we are
listening to a single instrument or several. It is one of the
ways one section of the brain may recognize, synchronize
and communicate with another.
The ability to have orchestrated surges in theta, alpha and
gamma components of the EEG is crucial to insight and intelligence  and is even seen in the near death experience
 Strogatz S (2003) - Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos in the Universe, Nature, and Daily Life. Hyperion,
 Pockett S, et al (2009) - EEG synchrony during a perceptual-cognitive task - Widespread phase synchrony at
all frequencies. Clinical Neurophysiology 120, 695-708. [Abstract]
 Kitzbichler MG, et al (2009) - Broadband criticality of human brain network synchronization. PLoS
Computational Biology, Mar 20, 2009. [Free Full Text]
 Pahor A, et al (2014) - Theta–gamma cross-frequency coupling relates to the level of human intelligence.
Intelligence 46 (2014) 283-290. [Abstract]
 Borjigin J, et al (2013) - Surge of neurophysiological coherence and connectivity in the dying brain. Proc Nat
Acad Sci, Aug 14, 2013. [Free Full Text]