Slow Cortical Potential Neurofeedback (SCP-NF) is an exciting branch of biofeedback therapy that focuses on the slow cortical potentials (SCPs) of the brain. SCPs are slow voltage shifts that occur in the cerebral cortex over a period of several seconds. They reflect the excitability of cortical networks and are directly linked to attentional and perceptual processes. By learning to regulate these potentials, individuals can potentially gain greater control over their mental states and cognitive functions.
SCP Neurofeedback, which originated from the pioneering research conducted in the 1960s and 70s, involves real-time monitoring of SCPs using electroencephalography (EEG). This information is then fed back to the individual, who is taught to increase or decrease these slow potentials using various mental strategies. The goal of this training is to improve cortical self-regulation, which can have wide-ranging effects on cognitive and psychological wellbeing.
One of the most promising applications of SCP Neurofeedback is in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Several studies have shown that individuals with ADHD often have difficulty in regulating their SCPs, which may contribute to problems with attention and impulse control. SCP Neurofeedback training can help these individuals learn to better regulate their cortical activity, which can lead to improvements in attention, impulsivity, and overall behavior.
In Slow Cortical Potential Neurofeedback (SCP-NF), increasing or decreasing slow cortical potentials refers to the process of learning to self-regulate one’s brain activity, particularly in the context of these very slow voltage shifts in the cerebral cortex.
Slow cortical potentials (SCPs) are fluctuations in the brain’s electrical activity that occur over a period of one to several seconds. They are thought to represent the level of excitability of cortical neuronal networks, with negative shifts increasing neuronal excitability and positive shifts decreasing it.
In SCP Neurofeedback training, a person learns to consciously influence these slow potentials, either increasing them (making them more negative) or decreasing them (making them more positive), based on the real-time feedback they receive from their EEG readings. This is done using various mental strategies.
For instance, to increase (make more negative) slow cortical potentials, individuals might be instructed to use strategies that involve focused attention or mental effort. This is because negative SCPs are associated with states of increased cortical readiness or anticipatory attention.
On the other hand, to decrease (make more positive) slow cortical potentials, individuals might be encouraged to use relaxation or mental ‚letting go‘ strategies. Positive SCPs are associated with states of reduced cortical readiness or ‚idling‘ states.
This ability to self-regulate SCPs is thought to be beneficial in managing various conditions where cortical excitability and regulation are disturbed, such as ADHD, epilepsy, and some mood disorders. For example, a person with ADHD might benefit from learning to increase their SCPs (making them more negative), thus enhancing their level of cortical readiness and improving their attentional control.
Moreover, SCP Neurofeedback has shown promise in other areas, such as epilepsy, stroke recovery, and mood disorders. For instance, in epilepsy, SCP Neurofeedback training targets the regulation of cortical excitability, which can potentially reduce the frequency and severity of seizures.