EEG Dynamics of Mindfulness Meditation Versus Alpha Neurofeedback: a Sham-Controlled Study
Mindfulness meditation (MM) and EEG-alpha neurofeedback (NFB) have both been shown to improve attentional performance and increase full 8–12-Hz EEG alpha amplitude, but no studies have compared MM and NFB on their effects for modulating EEG alpha or attentional control. Sixty-one university students were randomized to a 15-min single-session MM (n = 24), NFB (n = 17), or sham-NFB (SHAM; n = 20) intervention and were compared on EEG alpha full and sub-band amplitudes during completion of a single 15-min session of either intervention across 5 successive 3-min epochs, as well as during performance of the Stroop test. MM and NFB participants demonstrated higher global full-band alpha amplitude when compared with SHAM participants during the final intervention epoch, whereas no group differences were observed for sub-band amplitudes. In the absence of group differences in behavioral performance, MM participants exhibited a lower ERD of the upper alpha-band within frontal cortex 200–400 ms post-stimulus on the Stroop task, an effect that correlated with upper alpha amplitudes demonstrated during the intervention. Future research directions are discussed.
KeywordsMindfulness meditation (MM) Neurofeedback (NFB) EEG alpha Attentional control Stroop task Event-related desynchronization (ERD)
Compliance with Ethical Standards
This study was funded by the Ontario Mental Health Foundation and the Lawson Health Research Institute.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
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