A Meta-Analysis of the Effect of Neurofeedback on Depression

  • Demir Barlas Independent
Keywords: Neurofeedback, depression, biofeedback, arousal-withdrawal model, frontal alpha asymmetry, amygdala


This meta-analytical study examined the effect of neurofeedback on decreasing  depression. The main finding of the meta-analysis was that neurofeedback resulted in a large (g = -0.91) decrease in depression. This finding can be explained through the various roles of brainwave oscillations in terms of both the formation and persistence of depression and the development of oscillatory patterns less compatible with depressive states. One plausible mechanism for NF’s depression-reduction effect is that of the approach-withdrawal model as related to not only the asymmetrical activation of the frontal regions but also the hypoactivity of the amygdala. Future research might uncover other possible explanations for NF’s observed efficacy as a means of reducing depression. The findings of the study provide some support for the utilization of neurofeedback as either a complement to the pharmaceutical treatment of depression or, given its effect size, a standalone therapy. However, because NF research base is immature in comparison to the research base on pharmaceutical antidepressants, additional analysis remains necessary.  


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