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Appl Psychophysiol Biofeedback. 2014 Dec;39(3-4):227-36. doi: 10.1007/s10484-014-9262-9.

The effects of a single session of upper alpha neurofeedback for cognitive enhancement: a sham-controlled study.

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  • 1Aragon Institute of Engineering Research (I3A), Zaragoza, Spain,


The minimization of the non-specific factors of neurofeedback (NF) is an important aspect to further advance in the understanding of the effects of these types of procedures. This paper investigates the NF effects of a single session (25 min) of individual upper alpha enhancement following a sham-controlled experimental design (19 healthy participants). We measured immediate effects after the training and 1-day lasting EEG effects (eyes closed resting state and task-related activity), as well as the event-locked EEG effects during the execution of a mental rotation task. These metrics were computed in trained (upper alpha) and non-trained EEG parameters (lower alpha and lower beta). Several cognitive functions were assessed such as working memory and mental rotation abilities. The NF group showed increased upper alpha power after training in task-related activity (not significantly sustained 1 day after) and higher pre-stimulus power during the mental rotation task. Both groups improved cognitive performance, with a more prominent improvement for the NF group, however a single session seems to be insufficient to yield significant differences between groups. A higher number of training sessions seems necessary to achieve long-lasting effects on the electrophysiology and to enhance the behavioral effects.

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