Theta EEG neurofeedback benefits early consolidation of motor sequence learning

Roman Rozengurt, Anat Barnea, Sunao Uchida, Daniel A. Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Procedural learning is subject to consolidation processes believed to depend on the modulation of functional connections involved in representing the acquired skill. While sleep provides the most commonly studied framework for such consolidation processes, posttraining modulation of oscillatory brain activity may also impact on plasticity processes. Under the hypothesis that consolidation of motor learning is associated with theta band activity, we used EEG neurofeedback (NFB) to enable participants to selectively increase either theta or beta power in their EEG spectra following the acquisition phase of motor sequence learning. We tested performance on a motor task before and after training, right after the NFB session to assess immediate NFB effects, 1 day after NFB to assess interaction between NFB effects and overnight sleep-dependent stabilization, and 1 week after the initial session, to assess the effects of NFB on long-term stabilization of motor training. We also explored the extent of the influence of single-electrode NFB on EEG recorded across the scalp. Results revealed a significantly greater improvement in performance immediately after NFB in the theta group than in the beta group. This effect continued for testing up to 1 week following training. Across participants, post-NFB improvement correlated positively with theta/beta ratio change achieved during NFB. Additionally, NFB was found to cause widespread band-power modulation beyond the electrode used for feedback. Thus, upregulating postlearning theta power may yield contributions to the immediate performance and subsequent consolidation of an acquired motor skill.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-973
Number of pages9
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Society for Psychophysiological Research.


  • Consolidation
  • EEG
  • Motor learning
  • Neurofeedback
  • Procedural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry


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