Much of neuroscience makes sense, when you start to think about it. Understanding the vocabulary and terms helps!


The current diagnostic label for atypical attention regualtion. DSM criteria are with/without Hyperactiivty, Inattentive, or mixed. This may change a bit in the new DSM-V


A medium frequency rthym, ofen around 10Hz. Idling, Integrative. Band ranges from 7-13 Hz by various definitions. Several types of alpha exist with different functional significance, including Mu, thalamic alpha, and occipital Eyes Closed alpha.

Jargon - brain-birds-white-floaty
Jargon – brain-birds-white-floaty

Alpha / Theta Training

Eyes Closed EEG biofeedback training to produce more Alpha (8-10 Hz) and more Theta (4 – 7 Hz). Designed to produce profound relaxation or a hypnogogic state, aid in accessing creativity, and recovering from stress.


A complex term representing many resources in the frontal and posterior cortices, including transient and sustained resources, receiving environmental information, and directing appropriate action.


Active EEG, often involved in cognitive processes. Several beta bands are often defined, including SMR, Beta 1 (15-18Hz) and bands ranging up to 40 Hz.


Training a normally non-perceptible physiology parameter by yoking it to a perceptible “reward” stimulus, e.g. the occurance or change in pitch of tone, movement of a meter, etc.


Teeth grinding

Central Biofeedback

Neurofeedback, or Biofeedback on the Central Nervous System.


The “slowest” EEG band, around 0.5 – 2 Hz. Often dominant in some stages of sleep; persists with Eyes Open in some cases of mild or major head trauma.


Brainwaves. Measuring brain activity from paste-on scalp electrodes, non-invasively and without “zapping”.

EEG Biofeedback

Neurofeedback using EEG parameters.

Executive Function

Controlling attention, responding appropriately to environment, planning, emotional regulation, working memory, and vigilance.

Eyes Closed Alpha

The back of the head (occipital cortex) represents visual input. When we close our eyes, it goes idle, or quiescent, and produces a slow idle oscillation of Alpha (~ 10 Hz)


Galvanic Skin Response. A change in resisance/conductivity in the skin related to physiological arousal, startle, and may index some sensory gating phenomena.


A technique that measures blood flood dynamics in the brain


Heart Rate Variability. Training heart rhythm regulation through paced breathing in combination with biofeedback on heartbeat.

International 10:20 System

A scalp coordinate labeling system, using letters and numbers.

Long Term Memory

Long term storage – in cortex, facilitated by hippocampus.


A specific type of headache that is almost akin to a minor seizure, often with spreading cortical “depression”, and often preceeded by visual or other sensory “aura” or odd neurological symptoms. Often responds to pirHEG training.


Paying Attention, in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and noticing judgments and criticisms. PBI Mindfulness FAQ


An alpha-like waveform that occurs on the Sensiormotor strip. It looks like a croquet wicket, or the Greek letter Mu. Alterations in normal Mu may show up in some instances of Autism or ADHD.


Biofeedback on the Central Nervous System, for example on measured parameters of EEG signals

Peripheral Biofeedback

Biofeedback on the Peripheral Nervous System, for example Heart Rate Variability training, temperature biofeedback, or Galvanic Skin Response.


Neurofeedback using passive infrared Hemoencephalography to training frontal lobe perfusion dynamics, often to aid in Migraine or frontal Executive Function support.

Prefrontal Cortex (PFC)

The most “frontal” part of the brain, and also most evolutionarly late, representing and enabling all of the most very “human” higher cognitive function.

Response Inhibition

Not actiing on urges, impulses, and immediate stimuli.

Sensorimotor Strip

A “strip” of cortex running from ear to ear acros the top of the brain, just in front and behind of the central sulcus. It represents sensation and sends out explicit movement. Many neurofeedback protocols use 1 or 2 scalp electrodes measuring activity on sensiormotor strip.

Short Term Memory

Memory for recent facts and events – minutes or hours.


A multi-stage process of growth, repair, memory consolidation, and recovery. EEG goes through many active and slow stages throughout the night.

Sleep Cessation

Waking up in the morning. Making the transition to wakefulness.

Sleep Maintenance

Staying asleep throughout the night.

Sleep Onset

Falling asleep.


Sensorimotor Rhythm. A low beta 12-15Hz that occurs on the Sensiormotor Strip. Involved in regualtion of sleep, attention, and possibly learning.

SMR Training

Neurofeedback rewarding (training to make more of) the “SMR” band or 12-15 Hz EEG. This is is among the first human EEG trained as neurofeedback (see Sterman, who used cats). Enhancing SMR appears to stabilize inhibitory aspects of ADHD, and often improve sleep. Sterman’s early work with SMR in cats (and later humans) showed that SMR training also raised the seizure threshold in brains, e.g. it works to reduce seizures. There is also research to suggest that SMR is related to sleep spindles, and hippocampal ripples, which is one of the primary mechanisms for memory consolidation used by the brain during sleep.

Speed of processing

How fast you think.

Sustained Attention

Vigilence. Keeping active, focused attention over time.


4-7 Hz EEG. A slow rhythm, dreamy. Excess frontal theta shows up in response inhibition problems as well as other attention regulation mechanisms. There are several variants in typical and atypical forms.

Theta Beta Ratio

The amount EEG amplitude in the Theta band compared to Beta. Useful for identifying outliers in attention function, especially response inhibition and sustained attention.

Working Memory

A type of attention – amount of things you can keep in your mind at once. Analgous to mental “RAM”.

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