Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Neuroscience

Supervisor

Dr. Paul A. Frewen

Abstract

This thesis directly compared two active interventions known to enhance the EEG-Alpha rhythm, mindfulness meditation (MM) with EEG-Alpha enhancement neurofeedback (NFB), relative to a non-active Sham-NFB control. Seventy-three university students were randomized to one of the three 15-minute single-session interventions. Participants were subsequently compared on their ability to enhance EEG-Alpha amplitude as well as regarding Stroop behavioural performance, EEG event-related potentials, and EEG-Alpha event-related desynchronization (ERD) as markers of attentional control. Participants randomized to MM, NFB, and Sham did not differ in their ability to modulate the EEG-Alpha rhythm post-intervention. However, enhancements in EEG-Alpha amplitude were seen within the MM and Alpha-NFB groups during these interventions. Participants randomized to MM and NFB exhibited reduced ERD during performance of the Stroop task, interpreted as reflecting reduced cognitive effort required for task performance. However, these were not accompanied by any group differences in Stroop behavioural performance or P300 amplitudes. This study provides preliminary support for the therapeutic potential of single-session treatments that target the EEG-Alpha rhythm, such as MM and NFB, to influence neural processes underlying attentional control. Further evaluation of the benefits of these interventions across multiple sessions is indicated.


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