Identifying indices of learning for alpha neurofeedback training

Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2009 Dec;34(4):309-28. doi: 10.1007/s10484-009-9112-3.


Neurofeedback has been around for decades and has applications for both clinical and healthy populations yet there is no standard method for measuring learning or a way of defining successful learning. Thus the aim of this study was to focus on alpha neurofeedback and examine changes in three different measures: amplitude, percent time, and integrated alpha, across four methods: within sessions, across sessions, within sessions compared to baseline, and across sessions compared to baseline. Participants completed 10 weekly sessions of eyes open alpha (8-12 Hz) neurofeedback training (NFT) at Pz. Whilst all three measures showed changes within sessions, the inclusion of baselines revealed that such changes represented a return to baseline levels rather than an increase in alpha. Changes across sessions were only evident in amplitude and inclusion of baseline showed that NFT did not elicit any changes beyond baseline levels. Given this a case is made for incorporating baseline measures when attempting to identify evidence of learning. It is also suggested that both amplitude and percent time measures are used independently rather than incorporate them into a more conservative and less sensitive integrated measure. Finally, focusing on within sessions changes may be a more useful approach in identifying changes resulting from NFT.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / methods*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Time Factors