EEG-neurofeedback training of beta band (12–22 Hz) affects alpha and beta frequencies – A controlled study of a healthy population

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Abstract

The frequency-function relation of various EEG bands has inspired EEG-neurofeedback procedures intending to improve cognitive abilities in numerous clinical groups. In this study, we administered EEG-neurofeedback (EEG-NFB) to a healthy population to determine the efficacy of this procedure. We evaluated feedback manipulation in the beta band (12–22 Hz), known to be involved in visual attention processing. Two groups of healthy adults were trained to either up- or down-regulate beta band activity, thus providing mutual control. Up-regulation training induced increases in beta and alpha band (8–12 Hz) amplitudes during the first three sessions. Group-independent increases in the activity of both bands were observed in the later phase of training. EEG changes were not matched by measured behavioural indices of attention. Parallel changes in the two bands challenge the idea of frequency-specific EEG-NFB protocols and suggest their interdependence. Our study exposes the possibility (i) that the alpha band is more prone to manipulation, and (ii) that changes in the bands’ amplitudes are independent from specified training. We therefore encourage a more comprehensive approach to EEG-neurofeedback training embracing physiological and/or operational relations among various EEG bands.

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