Clin Psychopharmacol Neurosci.  2020 Aug;18(3):375-385. 10.9758/cpn.2020.18.3.375.

A Neurofeedback Protocol for Executive Function to Reduce Depression and Rumination: A Controlled Study

Affiliations
  • 1Department of Psychology, Fo Guang University, Jiaosi, Yilan County, Taiwan

Abstract


Objective
Rumination is a maladaptive emotional-regulation strategy that is strongly associated with depression. Impaired executive function can lead to difficulties in disengaging from rumination, thus exacerbating depression. In this study, we inspect an electroencephalograph neurofeedback protocol that enhance the target peak alpha frequency (PAF) activation in the prefrontal region. We examine the protocol’s effects on depression and rumination.
Methods
We randomly assigned 30 dysphoric participants into either the neurofeedback training group or the control group. We then evaluated their depression, rumination, and executive function at pre- and posttraining so as to examine the effects of the neurofeedback.
Results
The results show that this neurofeedback protocol can specifically enhance participants’ target PAF. The participants’ executive function performances significantly improved after undergoing 20 neurofeedback sessions. Compared with those in the control group, those in the neurofeedback group had significantly fewer depressive symptoms and significantly reduced rumination. Moreover, as target PAF and executive function improved, depression and rumination both declined.
Conclusion
Our data are in line with those of previous studies that indicated a relationship between upper-band alpha activity and executive function. This PAF neurofeedback can effectively enhance participants’ executive function, which can reduce rumination and ameliorate depression. This neurofeedback training is based on basic cognitive neuroscience, so it sheds light on depression’s pathological factors and etiology.

Keyword

Depression; Electroencephalogram; Executive function; Neurofeedback; Rumination
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