EEG-neurofeedback for optimising performance. II: creativity, the performing arts and ecological validity

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014 Jul;44:142-58. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.11.004. Epub 2013 Nov 15.


As a continuation of a review of evidence of the validity of cognitive/affective gains following neurofeedback in healthy participants, including correlations in support of the gains being mediated by feedback learning (Gruzelier, 2014a), the focus here is on the impact on creativity, especially in the performing arts including music, dance and acting. The majority of research involves alpha/theta (A/T), sensory-motor rhythm (SMR) and heart rate variability (HRV) protocols. There is evidence of reliable benefits from A/T training with advanced musicians especially for creative performance, and reliable benefits from both A/T and SMR training for novice music performance in adults and in a school study with children with impact on creativity, communication/presentation and technique. Making the SMR ratio training context ecologically relevant for actors enhanced creativity in stage performance, with added benefits from the more immersive training context. A/T and HRV training have benefitted dancers. The neurofeedback evidence adds to the rapidly accumulating validation of neurofeedback, while performing arts studies offer an opportunity for ecological validity in creativity research for both creative process and product.

Keywords: Creativity:music:dance:acting:validity; EEG; Neurofeedback; Optimal performance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Creativity*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Humans
  • Neurofeedback*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Reproducibility of Results