- Published: October 31, 2012
New research has found that “training” of alpha brain waves, in a procedure called neurofeedback (NF), can enhance the cognitive-control function of the brain. Training is accomplished in a 30 minute, noninvasive session where people can “learn how to control their own brain activity” by viewing their brain activity in real-time. This allows users to adjust their cognition during the session, with hopefully lasting effects.
According to researchers at Western University and the Lawson Health Research Institute, this can possibly be used to treat people with mental disorders such as “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, schizophrenia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.” A research study from Norway conducted by Jorg Assmus found that “hyperactivity and attention improved in the participants who received NF.”
On the surface, neurofeedback is a promising therapeutic technique that can help many people who are in need. However, it is easy to imagine that neurofeedback can be used in other cases as well. It is possible that militaries around the world may want to use neurofeedback to produced better equipped, more focused troops. It is also possible that neurofeedback, like nootropics, may be used and abused by students who want to get ahead in class. Are we comfortable with having students undergo NF training so they tackle more? Is this an unfair disadvantage compared to their classmates who don’t (possibly because of moral reasons) or can’t (possibly because of financial reasons) undergo NF training? Where do we draw the line between therapeutics and creating more “advanced” humans? Or do we draw a line at all, as any line would be arbitrary?
"In Study, Neurofeedback Matches Stimulants Ability to Treat ADHD." Goodtherapy. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/adhd-treatment-neurofeedback-stimulants-1015121>.
Nauert, Rick. "Neurofeedback Trains Brain Waves, Restores Brain Function | Psych Central News." Psych Central.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2012. <http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/10/26/neurofeedback-trains-brain-waves-restores-brain-function/46720.html>.