This question about Aspartame cites a source which states that ELF, extra low frequency wave transmission, can be used to induce emotions, feelings or hallucinations.

I did a quick Google search, and found a plethora of sources which state that ELF signals can be used for various things reaching from mind control to mood altering:

  • CS Globe

    Using these frequencies, the nerve fibers convey pain sensations, the feeling of hungry, tiredness, nausea, and signals on the sense of balance to points in the brain which invoke these stages in a awake consciousness.

    If interference signals are superimposed on the natural signals generated by the body as a carrier, the brain could be presented with stimulated states that we consciously perceive, but which do not appear as reality.

  • Journal of Borderland Research

    There is evidence that ELF magnetic waves can affect brain waves. This set of experiments was designed to study the effects of ELF rotating magnetic fields on the brain.

  • Educate Yourself:

    Our brains are extremely vulnerable to any technology which sends out ELF waves, because they immediately start resonating to the outside signal by a kind of tuning-fork effect. Puharich experimented discovering that

    A) 7.83 Hz (earth's pulse rate) made a person feel good, producing an altered-state.
    B) 10.80 Hz causes riotious behaviour and
    C) 6.6 Hz causes depression.

However, the credibility of these sources ranges somewhere between fairly low and total quackery.

My quackery radar is tingling, but I'd still be interested to know if there is a chance that this might have some scientific background.

Is there any kind of scientific evidence for ELF waves having any effect on mood/mental state of subjected persons?

  • Can you clarify if this is sounds or EM?
    – Sklivvz
    Oct 21, 2015 at 14:14
  • Nice collection of nonsense in the Educate Yourself link.
    – gerrit
    Oct 21, 2015 at 17:44
  • Yep, looks like the library of Alexandria for conspiracy theorists.
    – fgysin
    Oct 22, 2015 at 9:07

1 Answer 1


Referring to WHO, the scientific evidence related to possible health effects from long-term, low-level exposure to ELF fields are insufficient to justify lowering these quantitative exposure limits.

Also per WHO in 2007, there is evidence only of subtle and transitory effects since majority of the studies have been carried out at exposure levels below those required to induce the effects. Also, there is only inconsistent and inconclusive evidence that exposure to ELF electric and magnetic fields causes depressive symptoms or suicide which is considered as inadequate evidence. The studies on various cognitive effects from ELF field exposure are summarized in this 2007 paper.

The evidence for other neurobehavioural effects in volunteer studies, such as the effects on brain electrical activity, cognition, sleep, hypersensitivity and mood, is less clear. Generally, such studies have been carried out at exposure levels below those required to induce the effects described above, and have produced evidence only of subtle and transitory effects at best. The conditions necessary to elicit such responses are not well-defined at present.

Despite some scattered field-dependent changes, most notably in the alpha frequency band, and with intermittent exposure perhaps more effective than continuous exposure, these studies have produced inconsistent and sometimes contradictory results.

Generally, while electrophysiological considerations suggest that the central nervous system is potentially susceptible to induced electric fields; cognitive studies have not revealed any clear, unambiguous finding.

There is some evidence suggesting the existence of field-dependent effects on reaction time and reduced accuracy in the performance of some cognitive tasks, which is supported by the results of studies on the gross electrical activity of the brain. Studies investigating EMF-induced changes in sleep quality have reported inconsistent results. It is possible that these differences may be attributable in part to differences in the design of the studies.

Referring to ICNIRP in 2007, "reduction factors are not intended to compensate for gaps in knowledge. In effect, their use as a precautionary measure to account for uncertainty in science has been criticized as inappropriate by standard-setting bodies and health protection agencies."

While only acute effects have been scientifically established, the possibility of long-term adverse consequences of chronic exposure below the thresholds for acute effects cannot be dismissed, and extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields have been classified by IARC as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (group 2B)

  • This answers the question mostly for long term exposure and effects. The wording however suggests that there is the possibility of acute effects for high level short term exposure. This is what I'm mostly interested in.
    – fgysin
    Oct 22, 2015 at 9:12

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