Differential shaping of EEG theta rhythms

Biofeedback Self Regul. 1976 Mar;1(1):31-46. doi: 10.1007/BF00998689.


Heart rate, EEG, frontal EMG, and forearm EMG were recorded in 20 subjects for 3 baseline, 8 feedback, and 2 postbaseline sessions in order to compare two biofeedback methods of teaching subjects to increase theta EEG activity. Subjects were divided into high- and low-EMG groups. Five high-EMG subjects, and 5 low-EMG subjects then received 8 sessions of strictly theta feedback. The remaining 10 subjects, 5 from the high-EMG group, and 5 from the low-EMG group, received a "graduated" training which involved shaping the target response. This procedure consisted of 4 initial sessions of EMG feedback, followed by a second phase consisting of 4 sessions of theta feedback. Results showed a clear relationship between subjects' baseline frontal EMG levels and the effect of the training methods. Although subjects with high-EMG baseline increased their theta output only with the two-phase training, subjects with low-EMG baseline levels performed better when given theta feedback only. This result shows not only that amounts of theta can be reliably increased, but that training techniques should be adapted to the physiological characteristics of the individual--in this case, baseline levels of frontal EMG levels.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography*
  • Electromyography
  • Eye Movements
  • Forearm / physiology
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Larynx / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Muscles / physiology
  • Theta Rhythm*