Self-Prompted Discrimination and Operant Control of EEG Alpha

  • Jon A. Frederick Middle Tennessee State University
  • Andrew S. Heim
  • Kelli N. Dunn
Keywords: Discrimination learning, Perceptual motor processes, Consciousness states, Electroencephalography, Biofeedback, Neurotherapy

Abstract

EEG state discrimination studies may contribute to understanding the role of awareness in physiological self-regulation, but many individuals learn the existing paradigm very slowly.  In this study, a self-prompted discrimination paradigm, in which subjects decide when to respond based upon their subjective state, was examined for the rate of learning and its effects on the ability to control EEG alpha.  Twenty-nine participants received up to three 40-min sessions in which discrimination training was alternated with training to control alpha in four 10-min sets, compared to 22 participants who received control training only.  Discrimination training appeared to facilitate the ability to control alpha amplitude, but only in the first session.  The rate of learning of the discrimination paradigm was markedly greater than seen in previous studies.  Comparing the time series of postresponse alpha amplitudes suggested that the lowest scoring sessions involved a behavioral inertia, or difficulty switching states, particularly when a higher alpha state was required.  However, extreme amplitudes were discriminated better than moderate ones and discrimination task performances significantly exceeded the percent time that alpha amplitude was in the correct state.  These two observations suggest that EEG discrimination involves awareness of, and not just manipulation of, one’s EEG state.

References

Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191–215. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295x.84.2.191

Baron, J. (1966). An EEG correlate of autonomic discrimination. Psychonomic Science, 4(7), 255–256. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03342283

Becker, S., Kleinböhl, D., & Hölzl, R. (2012). Awareness is awareness is awareness? Decomposing different aspects of awareness and their role in operant learning of pain sensitivity. Consciousness and Cognition, 21(3), 1073–1084. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2012.03.008

Black, A. H., Cott, A., & Pavloski, R. (1977). The operant learning theory approach to biofeedback training. In G. E. Schwartz & J. Beatty (Eds.), Biofeedback: Theory and research (pp. 89–127). New York, NY: Academic Press.

Brener, J. (1974). A general model of voluntary control applied to the phenomena of learned cardiovascular change. In P. A. Obrist, A. H. Black, J. Brener, & L. V. DiCara (Eds.), Cardiovascular psychophysiology (pp. 593–646). Chicago, IL: Aldine. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315081762-23

Brener, J. (1977). Sensory and perceptual determinants of voluntary visceral control. In G. E. Schwartz & J. Beatty (Eds.), Biofeedback: Theory and research (pp. 29–66). New York, NY: Academic Press.

Brener, J., Ross, A., Baker, J., & Clemens, W. J. (1979). On the relationship between cardiac discrimination and control. In N. Birbaumer & H. D. Kimmel (Eds.), Biofeedback and Self-Regulation (pp. 51–70). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Carskadon, M. A., Harvey, K., Duke, P., Anders, T. F., Litt, I. F., & Dement, W. C. (1980). Pubertal changes in daytime sleepiness. Sleep, 2(4), 453–460. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/2.4.453

Cinciripini, P. M. (1984). Discrimination of sensorimotor EEG (12–15 Hz) activity: A comparison of response, production, and no-feedback training conditions. Psychophysiology, 21(1), 54–62. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.1984.tb02317.x

Congedo, M. & Joffe, D. (2007). Multichannel tomographic neurofeedback: Wave of the future? In J. R. Evans (Ed.), Handbook of neurofeedback. New York, NY: The Hayworth Medical Press.

Dehaene, S., Charles, L., King, J.-R., & Marti, S. (2014). Toward a computational theory of conscious processing. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 25, 76–84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conb.2013.12.005

Ferree, T. C., Luu, P., Russell, G. S., & Tucker, D. M. (2001). Scalp electrode impedance, infection risk, and EEG data quality. Clinical Neurophysiology, 112(3), 536–544. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1388-2457(00)00533-2

Fitts, P. M., & Posner, M. I. (1967). Human performance. Oxford, England: Brooks and Cole.

Frederick, J. A. (2005, October). Psychophysics of EEG state discrimination. Presented at International Society for Neuronal Regulation, Denver, CO. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267927950_Psychophysics_of_EEG_State_Discrimination

Frederick, J. A. (2012). Psychophysics of EEG alpha state discrimination. Consciousness and Cognition, 21(3), 1345–1354. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2012.06.009

Frederick, J. A. (2016). EEG state discrimination and the phenomenal correlates of brainwave states. In T. F. Collura & J. A. Frederick (Eds.), Handbook of clinical QEEG and neurotherapy. New York, NY: Taylor & Francis.

Frederick, J. A., Dunn, K. N., & Collura, T. F. (2015). Interactions between discrimination and control of EEG alpha. NeuroRegulation, 2(3), 126–136. https://doi.org/10.15540/nr.2.3.126

Frederick, J. A., & Guetter, A. (2017, March). Paradoxical responding in an EEG alpha discrimination task. Poster presented at Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback (AAPB) 48th Annual Scientific Meeting, Chicago, IL. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/309764314_Paradoxical_Responding_in_an_EEG_Alpha_Discrimination_Task

Frederick, J. A., Heim, A. S., Dunn, K. N., Powers, C. D., & Klein, C. J. (2016). Generalization of skills between operant control and discrimination of EEG alpha. Consciousness and Cognition, 45, 226–234. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2016.09.009

Fudge, R., & Adams, H. E. (1985). The effects of discrimination training on voluntary control of cephalic vasomotor activity. Psychophysiology, 22(3), 300–306. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.1985.tb01604.x

Hallschmid, M., Mölle, M., Fischer, S., & Born, J. (2002). EEG synchronization upon reward in man. Clinical Neurophysiology, 113(7), 1059–1065. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1388-2457(02)00142-6

Kamiya, J. (1968). Conscious control of brain waves. Psychology Today, 1, 57–60.

Kamiya, J. (2011). The first communications about operant conditioning of the EEG. Journal of Neurotherapy, 15(1), 65–73. https://doi.org/10.1080/10874208.2011.545764

Kotchoubey, B., Kübler, A., Strehl, U., Flor, H., & Birbaumer, N. (2002). Can humans perceive their brain states? Consciousness and Cognition, 11(1), 98–113. https://doi.org/10.1006/ccog.2001.0535

Lacroix, J. M. (1977). Effects of biofeedback on the discrimination of electrodermal activity. Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, 2(4), 393–406. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00998624

Lacroix, J. M. (1981). The acquisition of autonomic control through biofeedback: The case against an afferent process and a two‐process alternative. Psychophysiology, 18(5), 573–587. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.1981.tb01828.x

Lau, M. A., & McMain, S. F. (2005). Integrating mindfulness meditation with cognitive and behavioural therapies: The challenge of combining acceptance- and change-based strategies. The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 50(13), 863–869. https://doi.org/10.1177/070674370505001310

Libet, B. (1985). Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8(4), 529–539. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0140525X00044903

Libet, B. (1993). Brain stimulation in the study of neuronal functions for conscious sensory experiences. In Neurophysiology of consciousness (pp. 221–228). Boston, MA: Birkhäuser. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4612-0355-1_12

Marshall, W. R., & Epstein, L. H. (1978). Effect of heart-rate control training on heart-rate discrimination. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 47(1), 40–42. https://doi.org/10.2466/pms.1978.47.1.40

Olson, P. (1987). Definitions of biofeedback. In M. S. Schwartz (Ed.), Biofeedback: A practitioner’s guide (pp. 33–38). New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

Plotkin, W. B. (1981). A rapprochement of the operant-conditioning and awareness views of biofeedback training: The role of discrimination in voluntary control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 110(3), 415–428. https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.110.3.415

Sherlin, L. H., Arns, M., Lubar, J., Heinrich, H., Kerson, C., Strehl, U., & Sterman, M. B. (2011). Neurofeedback and basic learning theory: Implications for research and practice. Journal of Neurotherapy, 15(4), 292–304. https://doi.org/10.1080/10874208.2011.623089

Sommer, W., & Matt, J. (1990). Awareness of P300-related cognitive processes: A signal detection approach. Psychophysiology, 27(5), 575–585. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-8986.1990.tb01980.x

Stern, R. M. (1972). Detection of one’s own spontaneous GSRs. Psychonomic Science, 29(6), 354–356. https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03336599

Strehl, U. (2009). Slow cortical potentials neurofeedback. Journal of Neurotherapy, 13(2), 117–126. https://doi.org/10.1080/10874200902885936

Taub, E., Bacon, R. C., Berman, A. J. (1965). Acquisition of a trace-conditioned avoidance response after deafferentation of the responding limb. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 59(2), 275–279. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0021817

Taub, E., & Berman, A. J. (1963). Avoidance conditioning in the absence of relevant proprioceptive and exteroceptive feedback. Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology, 56(6), 1012–1016. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0048315

Published
2019-06-26
Section
Research Papers