, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 572–584 | Cite as

EEG Dynamics of Mindfulness Meditation Versus Alpha Neurofeedback: a Sham-Controlled Study

  • Theodore Chow
  • Tanaz Javan
  • Tomas Ros
  • Paul Frewen


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.


Mindfulness 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.

Ethical Approval

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.

Supplementary material

12671_2016_631_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (105 kb)
Fig. S1 (JPG 105 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Theodore Chow
    • 1
  • Tanaz Javan
    • 1
  • Tomas Ros
    • 1
  • Paul Frewen
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Psychiatry and PsychologyUniversity of Western Ontario, University HospitalLondonCanada

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