The Boys Totem Town Neurofeedback Project: A Pilot Study of EEG Biofeedback with Incarcerated Juvenile Felons


  • George Martin
  • Cynthia L. Johnson



Seven male adolescents, ages 14 to 17 who were in a juvenile detention residential treatment program and diagnosed with the combined type of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD-C) or with Conduct Disorder, participated in a study examining the effects of  electroencephalographic (EEG) neurofeedback on sustained attention,
response inhibition, executive functions, intellectual ability, and memory. All of the participants received 20 sessions of EEG biofeedback therapy in conjunction with treatment received in a residential program. Pre- and post-treatment measures were collected within one week of treatment, and data were analyzed using an adapted model of Jacobson and Truax’s method of clinically significant change (Jacobson & Truax, 1991) which allows criterion scores to be set and 95 percent confidence intervals determined at the level of individual performance on the collected
measures. Sixty-four percent experienced improved performance after EEG neurofeedback on one or more measures. Clinically significant
and reliable improvements were observed on teacher ratings of the
Global Executive Composite from the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (average improvement = .22 mean item raw score
points; Gioia, Isquith, Guy, & Kenworthy, 2000). Normal range performance was enhanced on the Composite IQ measure of the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (average gain = 9 points; Kaufman & Kaufman, 1990), on the Omissions subscale from the Conners’ Continuous Performance Test (average decrease = 13 errors; Conners, 1994) and on the four subtest screening measures from the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning (Sheslow & Adams, 1990), with average gains ranging from 2.0 to 3.67 scaled score points across the four subtests. The results are consistent with previous findings, and suggest that the methodology used for data analysis is a useful tool to assess individual levels of change, and indicate that EEG biofeedback may be a useful adjunct in the treatment of juvenile offenders.