The Brain Controls Itself: From Brain Reading to Brain Modulation via Neurofeedback
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Neal Miller, one of the pioneers of animal neurofeedback (see Chapter 1), always pursued his biofeedback work with clinical applications in mind. The opportunity to use physiological control training to modify psychiatric (and physical) disorders was met with great interest by the psychiatric community, which was only slowly moving beyond its psychoanalytic traditions. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s EEG neurofeedback and biofeedback in general was approached with great optimism by basic and clinical researchers from a wide range of fields. A look at the table of contents of a volume on Biofeedback and self control, where Miller had assembled what he thought to be the most important papers of 1973/74 in this field, gives an idea of the number of applications where biofeedback was tried.122 The sections on basic sciences covered “visceral learning”, which included the control of heart rate and salivation, and two areas of neurofeedback, “evoked potentials and motor units” (in rats, cats and macaque monkeys) and “electroencephalographic control” (in humans). The clinical syndromes for which biofeedback was attempted included tension headache, high blood pressure, chronic anxiety and eating disorders. Even complex disturbances of the coordination of heart rhythms, such as the common syndrome of atrial fibrillation or the relatively rare Wolff Parkinson White (WPW) syndrome, were targeted with operant conditioning procedures.
KeywordsEmotion Regulation Motor Cortex Deep Brain Stimulation Brain Control Neurofeedback Training
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