Neurofeedback: regulating brain dysfunction using video games

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It has long been theorized that video game consumption causes brain dysfunction by alienating the player from the real world and in so doing turning him into a mere twitching, reflexive zombie. These views could be justified. But what if we could turn this very same player into a meditative seeker of truth? By playing a video game, a person could learn to find and control his own inner peace (with the help of a sensei, of course). Could this cause of brain dysfunction then be considered a cure? Surprisingly, such an approach to healing exists today in the form of neurofeedback.

Neurofeedback and video games

Neurofeedback asserts that we can be trained to control our own brain waves. This is accomplished by pitting the therapy subject against his or her own brain in a video game EEG feedback loop. The subject is instructed by a therapist (the aforementioned sensei) to attempt to move an object on the screen along a certain path. As the subject accomplishes this task he trains himself to modulate specific brain waves that ease the symptoms of whatever brain dysfunction he suffers from. In this way he trains his brain to self-regulate more efficiently.

neurofeedback

The examples of brain self-regulation failures are numerous. They include: depression, attention deficit disorder, drug addiction, anxiety, seizures and migraines to name a few.

The trick during the first session is to find the most comfortable and effective reward frequencies. Does the subject need to either increase the arousal state of his brain or decrease it? From there the therapist can hone in on which brain functions will be targeted and determine where the electrodes need to be placed. The subject’s brain waves then act as the drive impulse for the video game.

“Over a number of sessions we can get the brain to adopt a different style of functioning, which it then owns, and the person can have a choice and say, hey, I don’t have to live with anxiety anymore…I can choose to live in a calmer state.”Dr. Siegfried Othmer

Can Neurofeedback cure the most common brain dysfunctions?

Many describe neurofeedback as guided meditation because it is said to train your mind to be more resistant to stress responses and improve access to spiritual states, but it is not a cure for brain dysfunctions. In the case of organic brain disorders, the only goal is to get the brain to function better.

So the next time someone tells you to “think happy thoughts” understand that accomplishing that task will require you to take control of your own brain waves and sense your body in a way that goes light years beyond the dualism of the kill or be killed world. Yes, then you will BE the sensei!

About Author

Jeff Miller is a writer on all topics and a teacher of the exotic language of English. He is currently working on building a better pet feeder, which is a variation on the better mousetrap.

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