Last modified: March 2021
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 above that 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
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
 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]