ast week I introduced EEG-neurofeedback as a method for giving subjects real time feedback about their brain state in order to allow them to effectively change it for sake and purpose of improving mood, or perhaps improving performance on a given task. In this post, we will cover some of the specific benefits derivable from EEG-neurofeedback.
EEG-neurofeedback has been found to have overall beneficial effects on mood and well-being. In particular, it has been found to decrease anxiety in junior doctors training to become ophthalmic surgeons. Also, EEG-neurofeedback has proven beneficial for anxiety reduction in professional female swimmers according to results from a Sport Competition Anxiety Test. According to Gruzelier (2014), the beneficial effect of EEG-neurofeedback can go beyond simple anxiety reduction, and can lead to improved energy levels, self-confidence, and commitment to performance on a given task (sport, cognitive, etc.).
As for the cognitive benefits of EEG-neurofeedback, it has been associated with improved attention and memory in adults and children. In fact, it has been shown to increase sleep spindle frequency, which have been associated with improved memory. Further, it has proven beneficial for spatial rotation abilities. In older folk, EEG-neurofeedback has been shown to improve fluid intelligence – the ability to think logically and solve problems in novel situations. Finally, it has been shown to improve executive control (i.e. decision making) in both young adults and the elderly.
Based on the results summarized above, it seems clear that EEG-neurofeedback can provide wide-ranging cognitive, as well as affective benefits. This is because EEG-neurofeedback encompasses several different interventions. If you recall from the previous post describing the protocol, EEG-neurofeedback can target various regions and frequency bands in the brain, and therefore depending on your goal (i.e. reducing anxiety, increasing alertness, etc.) can allow you to target different regions and bands to get the desired result. In this sense, EEG-neurofeedback is a broad field of study and potential wellness method that simply involves giving subjects feedback about the nature of their brain state in order to empower them to improve it.
In next week’s final post on the topic of EEG-neurofeedback, I will look at it’s effects with respect to creativity and it’s potential benefits in the realm of the performing arts (dancing, singing, etc.).
Gruzelier, J. H. (2014). EEG-neurofeedback for optimising performance. I: A review of cognitive and affective outcome in healthy participants. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 44, 124–141. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2013.09.015