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

Theodore Chow1 & Tanaz Javan1 & Tomas Ros1 & Paul Frewen1

Abstract 

Mindfulness meditation (MM) and EEG-alpha neurofeedback (NFB) have both been shown to improve at- tentional performance and increase full 812-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 succes- sive 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 200400 ms post-stimulus on the Stroop task, an effect that correlated with upper alpha ampli- tudes demonstrated during the intervention. Future research directions are discussed.