Thanks to the interaction of disinhibition and inhibition of specific regions, our brain can, at all times, ensure the processing of principally significant stimuli. The stream of information is regulated by neuronal alpha-oscillations in specific areas of the brain so that abilities for the processing of novel stimuli are discharged. Dr Hubert Dinse of the Department of Neurology, Bergmannsheil, and the Institute of Neuroinformatics, explains, “The appropriate timing of alpha oscillations is robustly associated with performance in perception tests and cognitive tasks.”
To date, however, it hasn’t been apparent whether learning results can also be impacted by alpha oscillations. Thus, to shed light on this, the team—that also comprised Hubert Dinse, Marie C. Krüger, and Marion Brickwedde, tutored the young healthy individuals how to control their alpha oscillations down or up.
For 2 successive days, the study participants participated in what is called neurofeedback training, wherein they were given a real-time response on their brain signal on a computer display in the form of colors. After this, the participants’ right index finger was stimulated electrically for 20 Min. This triggers the cortical learning processes as well as enhances the sense of touch. This method doesn’t rely on the earlier experience, attention, or motivation and thus allows a specifically efficient examination of the cortical basics of learning.
Test subjects who were capable of amplifying their alpha oscillations successfully experienced a specifically strong enhancement in their sense of touch. On the contrary, test subjects who decreased their alpha oscillations didn’t enhance at all on average on account of the stimulation. Thus Dr Dinse concluded, “Alpha neurofeedback training can thus serve as a way to improve learning success in daily, clinical or rehabilitative contexts.”
Likewise, according to another recent study, military personnel tutored to alter their own brain reactions with a neurofeedback program might be capable of decreasing their threat of experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.