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Neurofeedback-Enhanced Gamma Brainwaves from the Prefrontal Cortical Region of Meditators and Non-Meditatorsand Associated Subjective Experiences

To be published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, September 2010



Beverly Rubik, Ph.D.

Institute for Frontier Science, Oakland , CA ; 

Core Professor, Graduate College , Interdisciplinary Studies, Union Institute and University, Cincinnati , OH ;

Adjunct Professor, Integrative Health Studies, California Institute for Integral Studies, San Francisco , CA ; 

Faculty Member, Integrative Health, Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center , San Francisco , CA




Objectives: (1) To explore the inner experiences associated with increased production of gamma brainwaves in an initial neurofeedback experience; and (2) to measure and compare neurofeedback-enhanced increased output from the prefrontal cortical region of meditators and non-meditators, using the Peak Brain Happiness Trainer TM neurofeedback system.   

Design: Controlled pilot study; single session per subject

Setting: Non-profit laboratory in the United States

Subjects: Twelve (n=12) adults in 2 groups:   six practitioners of Transcendental Meditation TM ; six controls

Measures: Self-assessed inner experiences and measurements of clarified gamma output at prefrontal cortical region

Results:   (1) Self-assessed descriptions were comparable for both groups; (2) the associations of 16 supplied descriptors with the initial neurofeedback experience were comparable for both groups and showed highest scores for "happy" (p<0.0001) and "loving" (p<0.0001), and lowest scores for "stressed" (p<0.0001) and "disappointed" (p<0.0001); (3) baseline measures were comparable for both groups; (4) both groups were able to increase gamma using neurofeedback (p<0.01); (5) meditators produced greater increases over controls (p=0.02).

Conclusions :   The inner experience associated with increased clarified gamma amplitude from the prefrontal cortex apparently involves positive emotions of happiness and love, along with reduced stress.   Meditators achieved greater increases in gamma band from the pre-frontal cortical region over controls during an initial neurofeedback session.  

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