Area-specific self-regulation of slow cortical potentials on the sagittal midline and its effects on behavior

Niels Birbaumer, Larry E. Roberts, Werner Lutzenberger, Brigitte Rockstroh, Thomas Elbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Exteroceptive feedback was given for negative and positive shirts in slow potentials (SPs) recorded from Fz, Cz, or Pz (between groups design). Slow potentials at the feedback site were referred to adjacent scalp and non-cephalic electrodes, so as to confine SP shifts to the feedback location. Area-specific regulation of SPs was obtained at each midsagittal site after 3 days of feedback training. Subjects reported sensorimotor and emotional arousal when negative SP shifts were trained frontally, but not when negative shifts were trained parietally (cognitive/attentional strategies reported after parietal feedback). Area-specific regulation of SPs was subsequently abolished when behavioral tasks were added to further probe frontal/ parietal differences (dual-task procedure). These findings indicate that area-specific self-regulation of SPs is possible on the sagittal midline, and that self-regulated parietal SPs (in contrast to frontal ones) arise from non-motoric generators. The source of SP self-regulation was more readily probed by verbal reports of feedback strategy than by study of dual-task relations, because feedback control was disrupted by the dual-task requirement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-361
Number of pages9
JournalElectroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology - Evoked Potentials
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1992


  • Feedback learning
  • Slow cortical potentials
  • Stimulus preceding negativities
  • Threshold regulation of EEG

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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