The First Communications About Operant Conditioning of the EEG


  • Joe Kamiya



Neurofeedback clearly makes key contributions as a clinical tool for the treatment of neurological and behavioral disorders. It also has a critical role to play as a tool for the investigations of basic scientific questions of how human subjective experience is related to its biology. Indeed, it got its start as a tool for investigating the relation between EEG activity and its subjective concomitants. Recounted here is an account of how the author’s interests in this area led first to the study of dreaming sleep using the EEG, followed by an analysis of the conceptual status of subjective experiences like dreams, introspective reports and physiological indicators. At the same time, in the laboratory the development of operant discrimination of brain events became a primary focus, and its results led to the development of EEG biofeedback, now known as neurofeedback, involving both training in the control of the fluctuations in EEG alpha activity, as well as in the control of the central frequency of alpha. The practical applications of neurofeedback in the clinic are not reviewed. Personal contacts with others who learned of my work are described.