Alpha brain-wave neurofeedback training reduces psychopathology in a cohort of male and female Canadian aboriginals

Adv Mind Body Med. Fall 2012;26(2):8-12.


Objective: The study was conducted to determine if alpha brain-wave neurofeedback training can have positive psychological results by reducing anxiety and other psychopathology.

Method: The cohort participated in alpha brain-wave neurofeedback training for 76 minutes (day 1) to 120 or more minutes (days 5-7) daily for 7 days. Electroencephalogram (EEG) electrodes were attached to the head with conductive gel according to the 10-20 International Electrode Placement System. During training, participants were seated in a comfortable armchair within a soundproof and lightproof room. Brain-wave signals were amplified for processing by analog-to-digital converters and polygraphs, then filtered to the pure delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma bands as well as subbands of these bands of the EEG. For 2-minute epochs, trainees sat with their eyes closed in the dark listening to their feedback tones as the filtered alpha brain-wave EEG signals controlled the loudness of the tones. Then a "ding" sounded and the tones stopped. For 8 seconds, a monitor lit up with dimly illuminated, static numbers, indicating the strength of their alpha brain waves, after which the feedback tones resumed and the process was repeated.

Participants: 40 adult volunteers were recruited from the aboriginal population (First Nations, Métis, and Inuit) of Canada. The cohort ranged in age from 25 to 60 years and included males and females.

Setting: The study was conducted at Biocybernaut Institute of Canada in Victoria, British Columbia.

Primary outcome measures: Data was obtained to determine the effectiveness of this training by giving four psychological tests (Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory, and the trait forms of the Multiple Affect Adjective Check List, Clyde Mood Scale, and Profile of Mood States) on the first day prior to commencing training and on the seventh day upon completion of the training. EEG data was also compiled throughout the training and analyzed as a factor of the training process.

Results: Postintervention data showed positive results with reduction of psychopathology when compared to the data from testing prior to the training. Analysis of this data showed improvement in several areas of psychopathology.

Conclusion: Alpha brain-wave neurofeedback training daily for 7 days does have positive psychological results in adult male and female Canadian aboriginals as measured by data from four psychological tests on the participants.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology*
  • Alpha Rhythm / physiology*
  • Anxiety / ethnology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Canada
  • Cohort Studies
  • Depression / ethnology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Inuits / psychology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurofeedback / methods*
  • Neurofeedback / physiology*
  • Personality Assessment