Boosting Cognitive Performance: Exploring the Impact of Music, Coffee, and AI

A new study from NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering introduces an innovative approach to enhancing cognitive performance using brain-state data. The study authors developed the MINDWATCH algorithm, which analyzes brain wave activity through data collected from wearable devices such as wristbands and headbands.

The researchers aimed to investigate the effects of safe noninvasive stimuli, referred to as “safe actuators,” on promoting optimal cognitive performance. These safe actuators included sounds, tastes, and smells. By tracking brain waves and examining the relationship between beta band power and performance, the study found that both listening to music and drinking coffee were associated with stronger beta band activity.

Interestingly, AI-generated music had a more significant impact on beta band signals compared to traditionally produced music. The study’s success demonstrates that music can serve as a safe actuator optimized for increasing beta band activity. As lead author Dr. Hamid Fekri Azgomi explains, the researchers used deep-learning neural networks to create personalized music based on individuals’ preferences, contributing to the overall positive effect on cognition.

The study also explored the impact of other safe actuators, such as coffee and perfume. Drinking coffee notably increased beta band signals, while perfume reduced beta band power but improved performance in other measures. These findings further emphasize the potential of safe actuators in enhancing cognitive well-being and performance.

The MINDWATCH technology holds promise for real-time regulation of cognitive arousal and performance states. It aims to offer personalized and adaptive enhancements to mood and performance through noninvasive means. Additionally, the researchers hope that their extensive dataset will contribute to future investigations in the field of cognitive dynamics.

In conclusion, this study sheds light on the potential of various stimuli, including music, coffee, and AI, in boosting cognitive performance. The findings provide valuable insights into the links between brain wave activity and cognitive states, offering a glimpse into the future of personalized cognitive enhancement.


1. What is beta band activity?

Beta band activity refers to a specific frequency range (12 to 35 Hz) in brain wave oscillations associated with anxiety, attentiveness, and mental activity.

2. How does AI-generated music impact cognition?

AI-generated music has been found to have a stronger effect on beta band signals compared to traditionally produced music, potentially leading to enhanced cognitive performance.

3. How does coffee affect beta band activity?

Drinking coffee has been shown to increase beta band signals in the brain, indicating a potential boost in cognitive performance.

4. Can perfume improve cognitive performance?

Although perfume reduces beta band power, it has been found to improve performance in other cognitive measures, suggesting a complex relationship between sensory stimuli and cognition.

5. What is the goal of the MINDWATCH algorithm?

The MINDWATCH algorithm aims to decode brain states of cognitive arousal and performance using wearable devices, enabling real-time regulation and personalized enhancements to cognitive well-being and performance.

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