Better results when eyes *open* (now edited)

Hello can anyone tell me why I get a much better score whilst doing the Brain meditation with my eyes open ?

I get much better results, higher score more calm etc, just wondered why this would be and has anyone else experienced this phenomenon?

It would help to get some feedback on here because I might be doing something wrong which would enable me to meditate better and if there is anything neurological or biological this would point to ?

The muse is very sensitive to muscle movements. You can see this very clearly with the Muse Monitor app–huge peaks in the plots correlating with eye movements (and you can see differences between, say, looking left and looking up–fascinating!). So I’d guess that, with eyes open, the muse is picking up on blinks and perhaps more frequent (however subtle) saccades. And thus is considers you less “calm”.

One can cheat and get a better calmness score simply by rapidly moving the eyes around during calibration and then keeping them still during meditation.

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Hello thank you for your reply but please re read my original question as I meant to say that I get better results whilst my eyes are OPEN rather than closed, sorry made a mistake when typing the question out.
Of course the reverse should be true that better scores are attained through eyes being CLOSED but it is the opposite for me, makes me think that the device is faulty or is it something else ?

If you’re using the “bird chirp” app, you’re getting this “phenomenon” because the calibration stage before your meditation is creating a baseline that will skew the results and expectations.

I discuss it here in this thread:

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Thanks for that, I am not convinced as to the efficacy of the device as I get very unpredictable results, even though this presents itself with an interesting challenge to work out what is going on.

I do find though that calibration does effect the results as you say, so it is important to get a solid baseline but also device placement can make a considerable difference even though the set up and calibration is shown to be successful at that set up phase?

I haven’t found placement to affect results. Maybe because calibration so drastically affects it that there really is no reliable baseline to determine if placement affects it as well.

I’ve found if I calibrate it with eyes open and then meditate with eyes closed I hear a lot of birds. This makes sense because I’ve calibrated it with a less-calm state.

Same. Or, eyes closed and moving them side-to-side, because then the Muse is just picking up muscle movements. Or, eyes closed and still, but quickly mentally computing Fibonacci sequence numbers.

Whichever way I calibrate it, a lot of the time I get better results with my eyes open, this phenomenon seems more pronounced when I am having, how can I put it a ‘difficult’ session where I am not getting any calm at all, where I can open my eyes and almost immediately it can bring it to a stop and I get birds etc

What is the explanation for this ?

Maybe with eyes shut one is “trying” too hard. I.e. trying to “force” yourself to relax so that you can hear birds. With eyes open the pressure is off because you have other sensory data coming in.

I know it sounds ridiculous. On the one hand you are supposed to relax and not try to do anything, yet feedback implies “trying” . I.e. you are trying to calm yourself and hear birds. This might be a fatal flaw in the Muse concept.

I find the device does track brainwaves, but I’m not sure how to use it – at least how it’s advertised.

This was very much the conclusion that I was coming to, that it kind of ‘took the pressure of’ the process.

Well maybe then it is to the devices credit that it is trying to lead you into that desired state rather than forcing the issue ?

I think one can definitely over do mediation and it can have the opposite effect although I am quite sceptical of meditation itself and the whole ‘mindfulness’ thing which I believe is very over hyped.

Interesting device though and I will continue to use it and see if it brings benefits in terms of overall health and wellness.

I wrote in http://forum.choosemuse.com/t/calm-results-with-no-feedback-vs-feedback/5551 that I got more calmness with feedback turned off – i.e. no sounds or birds. The Muse is good at tracking brain states, I think, those being calm and active. You just have to avoid trying too hard, which is hard with feedback.

It can also track sleep pretty well! When you sleep it registers it as an active state, so if you are sleeping you get a really high active reading. This might be a big reason people think Muse is inconsistent. You’d think that dozing would be the same as calm, but it’s not. The algorithm is to raise the sound of the wind if you try to sleep, much like a Zen master striking a sleeping meditator with a stick if they go to sleep.