Neurofeedback facilitation of implicit motor learning

Ros, T.; Munneke, M. A. M.; Parkinson, L. A. and Gruzelier, John. 2014. Neurofeedback facilitation of implicit motor learning. Biological Psychology, 95, pp. 54-58. ISSN 0301-0511 [Article]

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Abstract or Description


Mu rhythm desynchronisation via EEG-neurofeedback (NFB) has been previously been shown to induce durable motor-cortical disinhibition for at least 20 min. It was hypothesised that the presentation of a novel procedural learning task immediately after this NFB protocol would boost motor performance.


The protocol consisted of firstly activating the right primary motor cortex with a single session of Mu (8–12 Hz) suppression via NFB for a total of 30 min. Shortly after, and with their non-dominant (left) hand, subjects (n = 10) performed the serial reaction time task (SRTT), which is used to assess reaction time improvement over multiple trials. During another occasion (1 week before/after), the same subjects were tested on a different sequence without prior NFB, as part of a counterbalanced control condition.


Compared to a “cross-over” condition without NFB, subjects who received NFB immediately prior to SRTT performance exhibited a significantly faster rate of learning, reflected in a greater reduction of reaction times across blocks (p = 0.02). This occurred in the absence of explicit awareness of a repeating sequence. Moreover, no significant differences were observed between conditions in error rate or reaction time variability.


Our results suggest that a single NFB session may be directly used to facilitate the early acquisition of a procedural motor task, and are the first to demonstrate that neurofeedback effects could be exploited immediately after individual training sessions so as to boost behavioural performance and learning.

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Brain–computer interface (BCI); Electroencephalogram (EEG); Neurofeedback; Primary motor cortex; Procedural learning; SRTT

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January 2014Published

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Date Deposited:

18 Feb 2015 10:07

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 15:27

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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