Psychophysics of EEG alpha state discrimination

By Jon A. Frederick

Nearly all research in neurofeedback since the 1960s has focused on training voluntary control over EEG constructs. By contrast, EEG state discrimination training focuses on awareness of subjective correlates of EEG states. This study presents the first successful replication of EEG alpha state discrimination first reported by Kamiya (1962). A 150-s baseline was recorded in 106 participants. During the task, low (<30th percentile of the baseline) and high alpha events (>70th percentile) triggered a prompt. Participants indicated
‘‘high’’ or ‘‘low’’ with a keypress response and received immediate feedback. Seventy-five percent of participants achieved significant discrimination within nine sessions, with a significant learning curve effect. Performance was significantly related to physical properties
of the EEG signal, including magnitude, duration, and absolute vs. relative amplitude. These results are consistent with a conceptualization of EEG state discrimination as a sensory modality, although it is also intricately related to voluntary control of these states.

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