Publication Date

April 2015

Advisor(s)

Psyche Loui

Major

Neuroscience and Behavior

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Electroencephalography (EEG) is a non-invasive neuroimaging method that records fluctuations in bioelectrical activity from the scalp. Oscillations in EEG activity can be categorized by bands of activity that are prevalent during different states of consciousness. Neurofeedback is a subset of biofeedback that uses real-time quantitative EEG metrics to help individuals regulate their own brain activity. Alpha waves (8-12 Hz) are EEG oscillations that are especially prominent during periods of relaxation with closed eyes. It has been shown that up-regulation of alpha activity through neurofeedback can decrease anxiety symptoms (Kamiya, 1969; Hammond, 2005), usually following hours of neurofeedback training. In this study, participants underwent a single fifteen-minute session of alpha-enhancement neurofeedback training to assess changes in self-reported anxiety, as measured by the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory. An auditory neurofeedback stimulus was represented as sine tone whose pitch was inversely correlated to the ratio of alpha amplitude to the average amplitudes of all frequency bands. A control group received sham feedback that was recorded from another subject. Experimental subjects showed a reduction in self- reported anxiety, although this reduction was not significant and not significantly different from changes in control-group anxiety. In addition, differences in alpha ratio pre and post training were not significant in either group, and changes in alpha ratio were not significantly correlated to changes in anxiety. More subjects, lower stimulus latency, and longer neurofeedback sessions would benefit future experiments aiming to reduce anxiety through alpha-enhancement neurofeedback.

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