Other Models

Outside the field, the positive results reported for NF training often tend to be attributed to other factors not directly related to EEG changes. For example, it sometimes is noted that being provided with reinforcement one or more times per week for attending closely to relatively boring stimuli for increasingly long periods of time could explain results. In other words, operant conditioning is occurring but quite independently from the specific EEG features concurrently being trained. This view is disputed by some who cite evidence that the specific EEG changes being trained are strongly correlated with expected changes in behavior. Nevertheless, NF practitioners often report cases in which behavioral improvements have occurred without changes in the targeted EEG features. It also is common to dismiss NF results as being due to placebo effects. In fact, it has been said that NF approaches the ''ultimate placebo'' in that it involves expensive, sophisticated electronic equipment and esoteric jargon and purports to make direct changes in brain function. As with any treatment technique, placebo effects can be expected. However, NF practitioners strongly refute the notion that this is the only or primary reason for results. They defend their position by citing cases in which positive effects went beyond anticipated behavioral changes, cases in which there were initial, temporary negative effects of the treatment, and the commonly observed course of behavioral change in which initial positive changes are followed by a plateau or increase in symptoms prior to a gradual decrease in symptoms.

Finally, there is the view that it is a sense of self-efficacy and self-confidence that comes with successfully mastering one's brain wave activity that leads to increased self-regulation of behaviors. This, however, seems unlikely to be a major factor inasmuch as children with ADHD very often enjoy and master computer games with no obvious improvement in symptoms.

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