Frontal asymmetry in alpha oscillations is assumed to be associated with psychopathology and individual differences in emotional responding. Brain-activity-based feedback is a promising tool for the modulation of cortical activity. Here, we validated a neurofeedback protocol designed to change relative frontal asymmetry based on individual alpha peak frequencies, including real-time average referencing and eye-correction. Participants (N = 60) were randomly assigned to a right, left or placebo neurofeedback group. Results show a difference in trainability between groups, with a linear change in frontal alpha asymmetry over time for the right neurofeedback group during rest. Moreover, the asymmetry changes in the right group were frequency and location specific, even though trainability did not persist at 1 week and 1 month follow-ups. On the behavioral level, subjective stress on the second test day was reduced in the left and placebo neurofeedback groups, but not in the right neurofeedback group. We found individual differences in trainability that were dependent on training group, with participants in the right neurofeedback group being more likely to change their frontal asymmetry in the desired direction. Individual differences in trainability were also reflected in the ability to change frontal asymmetry during the feedback.
Quaedflieg, C., Smulders, F. T. Y., Meyer, T., Peeters, F., Merckelbach, H., & Smeets, T. (2016). The validity of individual frontal alpha asymmetry EEG neurofeedback. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11(1), 33-43. https://doi.org/10.1093/scan/nsv090