Date of Award

Spring 1986

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Three biofeedback training methods were used to train human subjects to enhance levels of occipital lobe theta electro-encephalographic rhythms. It was hypothesized that the subject's level of physiological arousal would differentially influence the effectiveness of the training methods. The independent variables were: (1) baseline arousal, (2) training methods, and (3) pre/posttraining recording sessions. The dependent variables included: (1) theta EEG, (2) frontalis EMG, and (3) alpha EEG levels. For the baseline arousal variable, subjects were divided into low and high arousal groups based on a median-split of their pretraining frontalis EMG levels. The training methods included: (1) one-phase EMG/EMG feedback training that involved eight sessions of frontalis EMG training, (2) two-phase EMG/EEG feedback training with four sessions of frontalis EMG feedback followed by four sessions of theta EEG training, and (3) one-phase EEG/EEG training that utilized eight sessions of theta EEG training. All three training methods were administered via random assignment to subgroups of the low and high arousal groups. Changes in the levels of the dependent variables were recorded across the two levels of the pre/posttraining recording sessions variable. It was predicted that low arousal subjects would significantly increase theta EEG levels when they received the one-phase EEG training; and, that the high arousal subjects would significantly increase theta EEG levels when trained with the one-phase EMG/EMG or the two-phase EMG/EEG training methods. The results indicated that although there was a statistically significant overall increase in theta EEG activity from the pretraining to the posttraining recording sessions, the research hypotheses of differential training effects were not supported. A posttraining inverse relationship between theta EEG and frontalis EMG that other researchers (Sittenfeld, Budzynski and Stoyva, 1976) had observed was not replicated. The statistically significant decreases in frontalis EMG levels were interpreted to be the result of the differential effectiveness of the training methods, but were unrelated to increases in theta EEG activity. The results did not support the hypothesis that the subject's level of physiological arousal, as indicated by frontalis EMG activity, was related to the effectiveness of the biofeedback training methods for the enhancement of theta EEG activity.