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Brain Topography

, Volume 30, Issue 6, pp 822–831 | Cite as

Alpha/Theta Neurofeedback Increases Mentalization and Default Mode Network Connectivity in a Non-Clinical Sample

  • Claudio Imperatori
  • Giacomo Della Marca
  • Noemi Amoroso
  • Giulia Maestoso
  • Enrico Maria Valenti
  • Chiara Massullo
  • Giuseppe Alessio Carbone
  • Anna Contardi
  • Benedetto Farina
Original Paper

Abstract

Several studies showed the effectiveness of alpha/theta (A/T) neurofeedback training in treating some psychiatric conditions. Despite the evidence of A/T effectiveness, the psychological and neurobiological bases of its effects is still unclear. The aim of the present study was to explore the usefulness of the A/T training in increasing mentalization in a non-clinical sample. The modifications of electroencephalographic (EEG) functional connectivity in Default Mode Network (DMN) associated with A/T training were also investigated. Forty-four subjects were enrolled in the study and randomly assigned to receive ten sessions of A/T training [neurofeedback group (NFG) = 22], or to act as controls [waiting list group (WLG) = 22]. All participants were administered the mentalization questionnaire (MZQ) and the Symptom Checklist-90-Revised (SCL-90-R). In the post training assessment, compared to WLG, NFG showed a significant increase of MZQ total scores (3.94 ± 0.73 vs. 3.53 ± 0.77; F1;43 = 8.19; p = 0.007; d = 0.863). Furthermore, A/T training was also associated with a significant increase of EEG functional connectivity in several DMN brain areas (e.g. Posterior Cingulate Cortex). Taken together our results support the usefulness of the A/T training in enhancing mentalization and DMN connectivity.

Keywords

EEG-neurofeedback Alpha/theta training Mentalization Default mode network EEG functional connectivity eLORETA 

Notes

Funding

This study was performed without any financial support

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudio Imperatori
    • 1
  • Giacomo Della Marca
    • 2
  • Noemi Amoroso
    • 1
  • Giulia Maestoso
    • 1
  • Enrico Maria Valenti
    • 1
  • Chiara Massullo
    • 1
  • Giuseppe Alessio Carbone
    • 1
  • Anna Contardi
    • 1
  • Benedetto Farina
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human SciencesEuropean University of RomeRomeItaly
  2. 2.Sleep Disorders Unit, Institute of NeurologyCatholic UniversityRomeItaly

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