Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Alpha Rhythm

  • Cindy B. IvanhoeEmail author
  • Ana Durand Sanchez
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_4


Alpha waves; Berger’s waves


Normal electromagnetic oscillations produced by the brain when in a state of relaxation. They are in the frequency range of 8–12 Hz and arise from synchronous and coherent electrical activity of the thalamic pacemaker cells in the human brain. Also called Berger’s waves.

Current Knowledge

Alpha waves are believed to arise from the white matter of the occipital lobes. They increase during periods of relaxation with eyes closed. Alpha waves are thought to represent activity in the visual cortex and are associated with feelings of calmness and relaxation. Alpha waves increase when eyes are closed and during meditation and are associated with creativity and mental coordination.

After sustained wakefulness and during the transition from waking to sleeping when the ability to respond to external stimuli ceases, upper alpha power decreases, whereas theta increases.

It is suggested that the encoding of new information is reflected by theta...

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References and Readings

  1. Bragatti, J. A., De Moura Cordova, N., Rossato, R., & Bianchin, M. M. (2007). Alpha coma and locked-in syndrome. Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology, 24(3), 308.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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  3. Klimesch, W. (1999). EEG alpha and theta oscillations reflect cognitive and memory performance: A review and analysis. Brain Research Reviews, 29(2–3), 169–195.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Konn, D., Leach, S., Gowland, P., & Bowtell, R. (2004). Initial attempts at directly detecting alpha wave activity in the brain using MRI. Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 22(10), 1413–1427.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Min, B. K., Busch, N. A., Debener, S., Kranczioch, C., Hansimayr, S., Engel, A. K., et al. (2007). The best of both worlds: Phase reset of human EEG alpha activity and additive power contribute to ERP generation. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 65(1), 58–68.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Neurorehabilitation Specialists Baylor College of Medicine, The Institute for Rehabilitation and ResearchHoustonUSA
  2. 2.Physical Medicine and RehabilitationBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA