Exploring the effects of EEG-based alpha neurofeedback on working memory capacity in healthy participants

Nawaz, R., Wood, G., Nisar, H. and Yap, V. V. (2023) Exploring the effects of EEG-based alpha neurofeedback on working memory capacity in healthy participants. Bioengineering, 10(2), 200. (doi: 10.3390/bioengineering10020200)

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Neurofeedback, an operant conditioning neuromodulation technique, uses information from brain activities in real-time via brain–computer interface (BCI) technology. This technique has been utilized to enhance the cognitive abilities, including working memory performance, of human beings. The aims of this study are to investigate how alpha neurofeedback can improve working memory performance in healthy participants and to explore the underlying neural mechanisms in a working memory task before and after neurofeedback. Thirty-six participants divided into the NFT group and the control group participated in this study. This study was not blinded, and both the participants and the researcher were aware of their group assignments. Increasing power in the alpha EEG band was used as a neurofeedback in the eyes-open condition only in the NFT group. The data were collected before and after neurofeedback while they were performing the N-back memory task (N = 1 and N = 2). Both groups showed improvement in their working memory performance. There was an enhancement in the power of their frontal alpha and beta activities with increased working memory load (i.e., 2-back). The experimental group showed improvements in their functional connections between different brain regions at the theta level. This effect was absent in the control group. Furthermore, brain hemispheric lateralization was found during the N-back task, and there were more intra-hemisphere connections than inter-hemisphere connections of the brain. These results suggest that healthy participants can benefit from neurofeedback and from having their brain networks changed after the training.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This research work is supported by the Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman Research Fund (UTARRF) (grant No. IPSR/RMC/UTARRF/2021-C2/H03), Malaysia; the Excellent Research Centre Award Fund, Centre for Healthcare Science and Technology, UTAR, Malaysia; the Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD) (Reference No. ICM-2020-00116); and the Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Austria.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Nawaz, Dr Rab
Authors: Nawaz, R., Wood, G., Nisar, H., and Yap, V. V.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
Journal Name:Bioengineering
ISSN (Online):2306-5354
Published Online:03 February 2023
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2023 The Authors
First Published:First published in Bioengineering 10(2): 200
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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