Committee Chair

Hood, Ralph W. Jr.


Dept. of Psychology


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Neurofeedback is the process of monitoring and manipulating brainwaves. In 1976, Lubar and Shouse used neurofeedback to treat a child with Attention Deficit\ Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The most typical method for treating ADHD is to increase beta waves (14+ Hz), which are linked with increased focus and attention and to decrease theta waves ( 4-8 Hz), which are linked to daydreaming states. Recently this principle of increasing focus and attention through increasing beta waves has been used in audio technology that claims to increase beta waves through sound. The idea that sound or music can increase a person's attention, and thus cognitive abilities, is not new. In 1993, Rauscher, Shaw, and Ky reported that listening to Mozart resulted in higher participants' scores in their mean spatial reasoning as compared to silence and listening to progressive relaxation tapes. Since then, there have been conflicting results on the veracity of this "Mozart Effect." In this study, 87 participants were randomly assigned to one of three treatment conditions: listening to Mozart, the control group (silence), or listening to a CD that claims to contain beta-frequency enhancing audio signals. Each participant was tested individually. Participants completed a consent form, a pretest backward digit span task, a pretest state anxiety form, listened to 15 minutes of the independent variable, completed a posttest anxiety form, completed the posttest backward digit span task, and completed a demographic data form before being debriefed. Results were analyzed using a repeated measures 2 X 3 ANOV A. The results indicate that participants in all three treatment groups showed a practice effect; however, there was no difference between groups on the backward digit span task as a result of the treatment condition. Those participants who listened to the beta-frequency enhancing CD had Mozart vs. Beta Sounds significantly higher posttest state anxiety scores (p < .05) compared to the Mozart group and the control group who both had significantly lower posttest state anxiety scores (p <.05). There was no correlation between backward digit span performance and state anxiety. Other interesting correlations were found between variables on the demographic data form ( e.g., participants self-report of attention, mood, music training, self-report of liking the independent variable, etc.). Listening to Mozart or to the proclaimed betafrequency enhancing CD did not increase performance on the backward digit span task in this study. Strengths and limitations as well as considerations for future research are also discussed.


There are many important people to thank who have all assisted me in many ways during the process of completing this thesis. First of all, I would like to thank my thesis advisor, Dr. Ralph Hood, as well as my thesis committee, Dr. Nicky Ozbek and Dr.Renee Cox Lorraine for their patience and assistance. Secondly, I would like to thank Emily Stevens and John Cayhill for allowing me to utilize their CD that they developed as well as for their assistance in understanding neurofeedback and the design of their CD. Thirdly, I extend my deepest gratitude towards all of my family for helping me through this period. I would also like to thank all of the other professors in the Psychology Department for their willingness to assist me in my thesis preparation. I would also like to acknowledge the help of my co-workers who not only assisted me in thinking about my thesis and in helping to edit my paper, but also for serving as participants in my pilot study. Special thanks go out to Corey Garrett for his diligence in helping me to design the CDs used for this project. Finally, I would like to thank those who participated in this experiment.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder; Attention-deficit-disordered children--Behavior modification


Experimental Analysis of Behavior

Document Type

Masters theses




ix, 62 leaves



Call Number

LB2369.2 .P524 2001