The Effects of Performance Enhancement Training on Hypertension, Human Attention, Stress, and Brain Wave Patterns


  • S. Louise Norris
  • Ching-Tse Lee
  • Dmitry Burshteyn
  • Juan Cea-Aravena



Background: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effects of alpha-increase neurofeedback training (Performance Enhancement Training) on blood pressure, stress reduction, attention, and observe changes in brainwave patterns. A forty-nine-year-old male college student diagnosed with essential hypertension controlled by medication had undergone twenty-six sessions of alpha-increase biofeedback (8-13 Hz) at PZ electrode site for a period of 15 weeks. Method: Pre- and post-blood pressure measurements were taken for every session. At the beginning of week number eight, the participant discontinued his medication as advised by his physician. Pre- and postvisual TOVA CPT test was administered to assess the changes in accuracy, reaction time (RT), and RT variability. Osterkamp and Press Self-Assessment Stress Inventory was administered before and after training to assess the level of stress. QEEG evaluation was conducted prior, as well as upon completion of the study. Results: Mean Arterial Blood Pressure (MAP) yielded statistically significant results between pre- and post-sessions within participant blood pressure measurements. The participant’s systolic and diastolic blood pressures during the first thirteen sessions were not significantly different from those of the last thirteen sessions when his medication was discontinued, suggesting his ability to control his blood pressure within normal limits without the use of medication. The results of the TOVA test clearly indicate an improvement in individuals’ reaction time and the reaction time variability. The results of the Osterkamp and Press Self-Assessment Stress Inventory indicated an improvement in two of the scales: Work and Social Life. Statistical analysis showed that before and after QEEG evaluations were within normal limits. Discussion: The mechanism through which Performance Enhancement Training simultaneously affects blood pressure, reaction time (RT), and variability needs further investigation. However, the positive changes in the measured variables appear to be a function of enhanced self-awareness that leads to the improved self-regulation.