One size fits all? Slow cortical potentials neurofeedback: a review

J Atten Disord. 2013 Jul;17(5):393-409. doi: 10.1177/1087054712468053. Epub 2012 Dec 20.


Objective: The intent of this manuscript was to review all published studies on slow cortical potentials (SCP) neurofeedback for the treatment of ADHD, with emphasis on neurophysiological rationale, study design, protocol, outcomes, and limitations.

Method: For review, PubMed, MEDLINE, ERIC, and Google Scholar searches identified six studies and six subsequent publications. In addition to five studies focusing on children with Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed.; DSM-IV)-diagnosed ADHD, one study reports on adults.

Results: SCP protocols utilize unipolar-electrode placement at Cz, randomized bidirectional signal regulation, feedback/transfer trials, and discrete feedback/rewards. Results demonstrated learning of SCP self-regulation, moderate to large within group effect sizes for core ADHD symptom reduction, and enhancement of event-related potentials/electroencephalogram components. Neurophysiological and session variables were predictive of treatment outcome, but open questions of specific and nonspecific effects remain. Study limitations and future directions are discussed.

Conclusion: SCP is an efficacious and standardized neurofeedback protocol that addresses behavioral and neurophysiological deficits in ADHD.

Keywords: ADHD; SCP; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder; neurofeedback; review; slow cortical potentials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / diagnosis
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / therapy*
  • Beta Rhythm*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiopathology*
  • Child
  • Color Perception
  • Contingent Negative Variation
  • Cues
  • Electroencephalography
  • Evoked Potentials / physiology
  • Feedback
  • Humans
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Neurofeedback / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Practice, Psychological
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiopathology
  • Theta Rhythm*
  • Transfer, Psychology
  • Treatment Outcome