Many of us have watched a child play a video game, and tried to play ourselves. It is fun to lead your favorite football team to the Super Bowl, or to outwit and defeat 99 players in a game of Fortnite. As we play, we feel excitement and pleasure. However, when the game is done, we haven’t gotten any stronger, smarter, or better at concentrating on things like schoolwork. But what if there were a type of video game that made us better at those things? There is, and it’s called neurofeedback.
Neurofeedback is not a new type of gaming experience. It’s more like a good fitness workout. While it’s true that the developers of gaming systems have created some impressive video screens, the difference between video games and neurofeedback is that your fingers don’t move the characters to do neurofeedback. Your brain does, when it produces the “right” kind of brain activity. When it is not producing the desired activity, the images that you are trying to control stop moving.
Learning to Produce the “Right” Kind of Brain Waves
In using neurofeedback for kids with attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD), the “right” kind of brain activity is the type they produce when they are still, focused, and looking at or listening to something with a purpose. It’s the kind of concentration that should happen when the child is reading a book, listening to a parent or teacher, or participating in athletic, musical, or other organized activities. When a child is in that “active brain, still body” frame of mind, the brain regions responsible for attention and concentration produce an electrical signal or “brain wave” that is pulsing at about 13-21 cycles per second (Hz). These are called beta waves.
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