Anxiety change through electroencephalographic alpha feedback seen only in high anxiety subjects

Science. 1978 Jul 7;201(4350):79-81. doi: 10.1126/science.663641.


Subjects who were either high or low in trait anxiety used alpha feedback to increase and to decrease their electroencephalographic alpha activity. The alpha changes were tightly linked to anxiety changes, but only in high anxiety subjects (for whom anxiety was reduced in proportion to alpha increases, and was increased in proportion to alpha suppression). Low trait-anxiety subjects were superior at both enhancement and suppression training, but their alpha changes were not related to anxiety changes. In both groups, anxiety changes were generally unrelated to either resting levels or changes in frontalis electromyograms and respiration rate. These results suggest that long-term alpha feedback training (at least 5 hours) may be useful in anxiety therapy.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alpha Rhythm*
  • Anxiety / physiopathology*
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / physiology*
  • Humans
  • MMPI