Neurofeedback training improves attention and working memory performance

Clin Neurophysiol. 2013 Dec;124(12):2406-20. doi: 10.1016/j.clinph.2013.05.020. Epub 2013 Jul 1.


Objectives: The present study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of the frontal-midline theta (fmθ) activity uptraining protocol on attention and working memory performance of older and younger participants.

Methods: Thirty-two participants were recruited. Participants within each age group were randomly assigned to either the neurofeedback training (fmθ uptraining) group or the sham-neurofeedback training group.

Results: There was a significant improvement in orienting scores in the older neurofeedback training group. In addition, there was a significant improvement in conflict scores in both the older and young neurofeedback training groups. However, alerting scores failed to increase. In addition, the fmθ training was found to improve working memory function in the older participants. The results further showed that fmθ training can modulate resting EEG for both neurofeedback groups.

Conclusions: Our study demonstrated that fmθ uptraining improved attention and working memory performance and theta activity in the resting state for normal aging adults. In addition, younger participants also benefited from the present protocol in terms of improving their executive function.

Significance: The current findings contribute to a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying neurofeedback training in cognitive function, and suggest that the fmθ uptraining protocol is an effective intervention program for cognitive aging.

Keywords: Attention; Frontal-midline theta; Neurofeedback; Sham-neurofeedback; Working memory.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Waves
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Executive Function
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Neurofeedback / methods*
  • Recognition, Psychology / physiology
  • Young Adult