Theta (4-8 Hz)

The next brainwave is theta. Theta activity has a frequency of 3.5 to 7.5 Hz and is classed as "slow" activity. It is seen in connection with creativity, intuition, daydreaming, and fantasizing and is a repository for memories, emotions, sensations. Theta waves are strong during internal focus, meditation, prayer, and spiritual awareness. It reflects the state between wakefulness and sleep. Relates to subconscious.

It is abnormal in awake adults but is perfectly normal in children up to 13 years old. It is also normal during sleep. Theta is believed to reflect activity from the limbic system and hippocampal regions. Theta is observed in anxiety, behavioral activation and behavioral inhibition.

When the theta rhythm appears to function normally it mediates and/or promotes adaptive, complex behaviors such as learning and memory. Under unusual emotional circumstances, such as stress or disease states, there may be an imbalance of three major transmitter systems, which results in aberrant behavior.

Back to our car example, Theta would be considered 2nd gear. Not as slow as 1st gear (Delta) but still not very fast.

Distribution: usually regional, may involve many lobes, can be lateralized or diffuse;
Subjective feeling states: intuitive, creative, recall, fantasy, imagery, creative, dreamlike, switching thoughts, drowsy; "oneness", "knowing"
Associated tasks & behaviors: creative, intuitive; but may also be distracted, unfocused
Physiological correlates: healing, integration of mind/body
Effects of Training: if enhanced, can induce drifting, trance-like state. If suppressed, can improve concentration, ability to focus attention