Better than sleep: Theta neurofeedback training accelerates memory consolidation

Miriam Reinera,∗, Roman Rozengurtb, Anat Barneac

a The Virtual Reality and NeuroCognition Lab, Technion Israel Institute of Technology, Israel b Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Bar-Ilan University, Israel
c Bio Keshev – Private Practice for Neurofeedback, Givat Chaim Ichud 38935, Israel

Received 5 November 2012 Accepted 29 October 2013 Available online 7 November 2013


Consistent empirical results showed that both night and day sleep enhanced memory consolidation. In this study we explore processes of consolidation of memory during awake hours. Since theta oscillations have been shown to play a central role in exchange of information, we hypothesized that elevated theta during awake hours will enhance memory consolidation.

We used a neurofeedback protocol, to enhance the relative power of theta or beta oscillations. Participants trained on a tapping task, were divided into three groups: neurofeedback theta; neurofeedback beta; control. We found a significant improvement in performance in the theta group, relative to the beta and control groups, immediately after neurofeedback. Performance was further improved after night sleep in all groups, with a significant advantage favoring the theta group. Theta power during training was correlated with the level of improvement, indicating a clear relationship between memory consolidation, and theta neurofeedback.

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