EEG-neurofeedback for optimising performance. III: a review of methodological and theoretical considerations

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2014 Jul;44:159-82. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2014.03.015. Epub 2014 Mar 29.


In continuing this three-part review on validation of EEG-neurofeedback for optimal performance evidence is first provided for feedback influences on the CNS, the integration of EEG with fMRI methodology as well as anatomical correlates. Then whereas Parts I and II reviewed the considerable behavioural outcome gains and evidence for their feedback causation, part III lays bare the not inconsiderable methodological and theoretical conundrums. Cardinal assumptions amongst practitioners about specificity of topography, behavioural outcome and frequency bands are critically examined. The hitherto mostly neglected nature of feedback learning is reviewed including evidence of within- and between-session and successive baseline learning; the enduring impact on the tonic EEG; implications for experimental design, individual differences and the trainer-participant interface; distinguishing between the learning and mastery of self-regulation; connectivity, ratio, unidirectional and multimodal feedback protocols. A thorough grounding in human neuroscience plus interpersonal skills are considered prerequisites for scientific advancement and ethically sound practice.

Keywords: Connectivity; EEG; Learning; Neurofeedback; Neuromodulation; Self-regulation; fMRI.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Brain Waves / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Humans
  • Individuality
  • Neurofeedback*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Social Control, Informal