Neurofeedback is a non-invasive, pain-free process that you undergo while watching a movie on a computer screen after sensors, or electrodes, are gently positioned on your scalp, as dictated by a “map” of your brain. If, for instance, your Brain Map shows that Alpha activity in your frontal lobes is higher than normal, electrodes are placed on the frontals to coax it down to a normal range. Feedback appears in the form of a game or movie that tells you when you’re responding just right. In psychology, this is called operant conditioning. With neurofeedback, we teach the brain to do what we want it to do; we thereby change brain structure and function through brainwave feedback.
Our process involves watching a movie or any program on the computer, for 30 minutes or so, while the electrodes relay signals to and from the computer, which follows designated protocols to gently nudge the brain to adopt new, healthier patterns. While images and sounds fade in and out, the brain naturally struggles to correct them by subconsciously making adjustments in activity where the electrodes are placed. When desirable results are achieved, you’re “rewarded” with a clearer picture and sound. These fluctuations, occurring continuously over the session, create a real workout for the brain, which over time learns to stay within these parameters on its own.
You feel rewarded for your training efforts during a neurofeedback session, and this reward is called reinforcement – a concept of Behaviorism, one of the oldest and best-researched domains in Psychology. We learn how to ride a bicycle in the same way we do neurofeedback: we’re reinforced by our success. During a neurofeedback session the brain re-organizes existing connections and increases the ability to self-regulate, so neurofeedback is essentially a form of learning.