Neuromodulating attention and mind-wandering processes with multi-session real-time electroencephalogram

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Abstract

Previous studies showed the efficacy of a single session real-time electroencephalogram (rtEEG) protocols in sensorimotor rhythm (SMR) or Theta up-training. However, the impact of this training on sustained or mind-wandering attention was only modest. This could be explained by the lack of specificity in distinct rtEEG training protocols given their limitation in inhibiting or decreasing the amplitude of down-trained bands. Additionally, multiple sessions of rtEEG in up-training/down-training SMR (sensorimotor rhythm) and Theta along with better ways of tracking sustained and mind-wandering attention protocols may be required to achieve consistent effects. Here we describe the effects of a 10-session trial of up-training/down-training SMR or Theta (SMR⇑Theta⇓; Theta⇑SMR⇓), looking at the effects of 2 rtEEG training protocols in 2 n of 1 subject designs. We also tested to impact of this training in sustained and mind-wandering attention during the course of a Sustained Attention Response Task (SART). The present trial confirmed the potentiality of a multi-session protocol in up-training Theta or SMR and, as consequence, increasing sustained attention (Theta up-training) and mind-wandering attention (SMR up-training). However, the simultaneous increase of the Theta amplitude in the SMR⇑Theta⇓ (and the more modest increase of the SMR amplitude in Theta⇑SMR⇓) reduced the specificity of the rtEEG training. Future studies should build on the potentiality of extended rtEEG protocols on this attention paradigm but increasing the specificity of the trained EEG bands choosing less tedious/more motivating feedback instruments (SMR⇑Theta⇓) and conducting the Theta⇑SMR⇓ training eyes closed.

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