Neurofeedback with Juvenile Offenders: A Pilot Study in the Use of QEEG-Based and Analog-Based Remedial Neurofeedback Training


  • Peter N. Smith
  • Marvin W. Sams



Introduction. Atypical EEG and neuropsychological indicators have been observed among offenders. Dangerous offenders treated with a combined program that included neurofeedback (EEG biofeedback) and galvanic skin response (GSR) biofeedback demonstrated reduction in recidivism (Quirk, 1995). This study was designed to further evaluate the EEG findings of youth offenders and to provide an initial report on the effectiveness of a task-oriented analog/QEEGbased remedial neurofeedback training approach. Method. Five offenders with significant psychopathology were referred for treatment. The group was evaluated with attentional testing and analog/QEEG assessment prior to and following neurotherapy. Treatment consisted of 20 or 40 sessions of a task-activated analog/QEEG-based approach. Another group of thirteen offenders were assessed with attentional testing and provided with neurotherapy following QEEG assessment. Results. For all of the youth trained, in the analog/QEEG group, prevs. post-audio and visual attention testing demonstrated significant improvement within 20 remedial sessions. Three of the five youth showed rapid advancement in a residential grading system. Staff observational ratings suggested behavioral improvement in the QEEG group who in general were in training for a longer period of time. Conclusion. EEG abnormalities and deficits in neuropsychological testing were found among offenders. Neurotherapy as an adjunctive treatment appears to hold promise for improvement in cognitive performance as well as recidivism. It is anticipated that different neurofeedback protocols may enhance outcomes.