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EEG-based alpha neurofeedback training for mood enhancement


The aim of this paper is to develop a preliminary neurofeedback system to improve the mood of the subjects using audio signals by enhancing their alpha brainwaves. Assessment of the effect of music on the human subjects is performed using three methods; subjective assessment of mood with the help of a questionnaire, the effect on brain by analysing EEG signals, and the effect on body by physiological assessment. In this study, two experiments have been designed. The first experiment was to determine the short-term effect of music on soothing human subjects, whereas the second experiment was to determine its long-term effect. Two types of music were used in the first experiment, the favourite music selected by the participants and a relaxing music with alpha wave binaural beats. The research findings showed that the relaxing music has a better soothing effect on the participants psychologically and physiologically. However, the one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) results showed that the short-term soothing effect of both favourite music and relaxing music was not significant in changing the mean alpha absolute power and mean physiological measures (blood pressure and heart rate) at the significance level of 0.05. The second experiment was somewhat similar to an alpha neurofeedback training whereby the participants trained their brains to produce more alpha brainwaves by listening to the relaxing music with alpha wave binaural beats for a duration of 30 min daily. The results showed that the relaxing music has a long-term psychological and physiological effect on soothing the participants, as can be observed from the increase in alpha power and decrease in physiological measures after each session of training. The training was found to be effective in increasing the alpha power significantly [F(2,12) = 11.5458 and p = 0.0016], but no significant reduction in physiological measures was observed at the significance level of 0.05.

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This work is supported by UTAR Research Fund grant funded by Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia (Project No. IPSR/RMC/UTARRF/2016-C1/H1).

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Correspondence to Humaira Nisar.

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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.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Phneah, S.W., Nisar, H. EEG-based alpha neurofeedback training for mood enhancement. Australas Phys Eng Sci Med 40, 325–336 (2017).

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  • EEG
  • Alpha brainwave
  • Neuro-feedback
  • Mood enhancement
  • Audio signal