Things I've memorized as a result of doing 780 calibrations


For “bodies of water” I ended up memorizing the Great Lakes using the HOMES acronym:


Thanks to “famous people” I now know the first 10 U.S. presidents, for some reason. I had trouble with number eight – Martin Van Buren – so I picture Martin from The Simpsons driving a van.

It’s surprising how few animal names begin with the letter N. The only one I can ever remember is narwhal.

For “movies” the fallback has become all of Quentin Tarantino’s stuff, including True Romance (great movie).

I thought about posting what went through my head the first time the app said “spices”. It was funny but I didn’t post it because there was a lot of swearing. Now, when she says “spices” I just list programming languages instead.


i no longer think of items in the requested lists
i just keep repeating whatever object, place or person pops in my head
it seems to be ok with the muse because i always calibrate


That raises an interesting question: will a session’s results be affected by the amount of effort expended during the calibration phase? Sometimes I’ll list video games because there are so many – from the Pong, Space Invaders, Pac-Man era up to the GTAs, Bioshocks and Fallouts. This is significantly easier than listing, say, spices


I have actually now changed back to trying to follow the instructions and actually doing what is asked. If thinking about “schools” is suggested, I will think “UC Berkeley”, “Stanford” etc.

I have decided to do this because I think it’s at least possible that the baseline beta-waves might be somewhat different if we just reel off items that pop into our heads.

This is probably easier than the thinking required to enumerate the asked-for list.
It might make a difference in the session.
It also might NOT make a difference.

I just don’t know.
I assume the developers tried different methods of creating a baseline and I wish they would jump into the thread and add some clarification.

Are we wrong to just think of random items or should we really follow the protocol ?


Hi friends,

My name’s Jay and I’m the UX Lead for Muse.

You’re right in that we tried many different methods of creating a baseline - the challenge was to find something functional that wasn’t totally frustrating to do. With the categories calibration, all that matters is that you’re putting some effort into it, and that you’re trying to brainstorm multiple things. Even if you can’t think of anything, just putting the effort in should work fine - it seems the approaches you’ve mentioned are totally appropriate.

That being said, at Muse we’ve always felt the categories calibration has been a bit of a compromise based on the realities of the tech. Just between you two and myself, we are working on an exciting feature which I’m happy to leak to you here. Soon, Muse is going to have a significantly revamped calibration which is more authentic to the meditation experience and doesn’t involve categories or brainstorming at all.


PS> Newt is a great ‘N’ animal, they’re such cute little amphibians!