To present a theory of alpha enhancement that explains how feedback trainees learn (or fail to learn) alpha increases.
Kamiya’s (1976) Presidential Address urged the formulation of theories for biofeedback, noting that the absence of theoretical bases has retarded the development of this field. Kamiya thus motivated the development of this theory, which has three major features:
We shall now consider some details of these alpha feedback experiences to focus attention on the meanings of physiological and psychological processes discovered. We shall sketch some objective evidence of the relationship of alpha activity to two other physiological systems: muscle activity (EMG) and respiration briefly. The extreme sensitivity of feedback enhanced alpha activity to the amount of ergodicity in specific thoughts makes it possible to study the structure of thinking processes and thought formation in a new way. Seeking the structure of the thinking aspects of consciousness is an entirely new area for phenomenological study. Its development will enhance the psychology of cognition, but the permanent physiological record of the feedback scores will also further psychophysiology. A direct subjective and objective understanding is also achieved of the interdependence of multiple physiological systems. The patterning of physiological responses was understood almost effortlessly by noting the interactive effects of muscle tension, breathing activity, and alpha activity. A brief formal analysis will increase our confidence in the validity of insights derived from subjective sources during the alpha feedback.
Eight-channel EEGs (O1, O2, C3, C4, T3, T4, F3, F4) were recorded, filtered, and digitized for 17 right-handed non-meditators who received broadband alpha feedback simultaneously on 4 channels (O1, O2, C3, C4). Alpha feedback was both 4 auditory tones, and 4 periodically presented digital integrated amplitude alpha scores. Auditory feedback on each of the 4 feedback channels was presented through 4 spatially separated speakers. It employed separate pitches for the tones, which signaled activity at each of the 4 cortical feedback sites. Auditory feedback was driven by the envelope of the filtered and full-wave rectified broadband alpha activity. Auditory feedback was presented to Ss sitting upright, eyes closed, in a totally dark, climate-controlled, soundproof (Industrial Acoustics Corp.) chamber. Auditory feedback was continuous, except for an 8-second interruption every 2 minutes. During which 8-second interruption, all the feedback tones shifted to resting pitches, which signaled the S to open his/her eyes to view the digital scores, which were illuminated only during these 8 seconds.
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