While there is a lot of general discussion and articles on the web that strobe lights cause epileptic seizures - I am looking for more specific data. Perhaps scientific references, papers or articles that list what exactly changes in the brain, when exposed to strobe lights.

For example, how does it alter consciousness, what happens to the frequency of the brain after exposure, what part of the brain does most of the change happen in and if there are ways to revers the effects on the brain, etc.?

Any point in the right direction is greatly appreciated,

This article just came out, looks like this issue will be getting more attention in the near future:

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting, I thought to ask this question last week after driving through a forest and noticing the strobe-like pattern the light filtered through the leaves made. I wondered, what is the actual effect of strobe-like light on the brain, and what causes it to affect epileptic people as it does? $\endgroup$
    – Josh
    Dec 4 '12 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ @JoshGitlin: well, great minds do think alike..haha. Your observation reminds me of a documented event where a helicopter pilot looked up at the spinning blades with the sun coming through, and lost cognition and crashed...there is something very powerful with the phenomenon... $\endgroup$ Dec 6 '12 at 1:14

The presentation of flickering lights usually leads to so-called steady-state visual evoked potentials, that is, oscillatory responses in the visual cortex with the frequency of the stimulus as well as its harmonics. See for example:

Herrmann CS. (2001) Human EEG responses to 1-100 Hz flicker: resonance phenomena in visual cortex and their potential correlation to cognitive phenomena.Exp Brain Res 137(3-4):346-53. Pubmed

There is a lot of research concerning this phenomenon. For a list of papers, please see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=steady%20state%20visual%20evoked%20potential

  • $\begingroup$ thank you, I did not know about steady-state visual evoked potentials. $\endgroup$ Dec 6 '12 at 18:55

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