Dr. Barry Sterman, PhD


Shutting Down the Noise: A Lifetime of Searching for the Motor, Sensory, and Cognitive Switches in the Mammalian Brain

Recently I have been encouraged by numerous colleagues to produce a narrative covering my career of some 50 years as a psychologist and neurophysiological researcher, followed in later years as a clinician seeking to apply what I had learned in the clinical world. I thought that this was a good idea, considering my advancing age. However, I never anticipated the very valuable epiphany that this review would lead me to.

As a scientific communication this effort will not be a typical scholarly work seeking journal publication. It is a Power-Point presentation with abundant visuals and substantial text. This is primarily because the work discussed evolved over an extended period of changing research objectives and methodologies. Speculation is minimal because data were derived both from basic neurophysiological studies in animals, with electrodes placed directly onto or into the brain, and from behavioral studies in humans, providing solid, empirical findings that are peer-reviewed and published. The surprise was that in the final analysis the findings all spoke to the same basic conclusions. Regarding this convergence, I am reminded of the important mantra I learned from reading Ivan Pavlov’s work, namely “observe, observe, observe”, and the insightful conclusion of Elkhonon Goldberg, who suggests in his most recent book, the “Wisdom Paradox,” that we do not necessarily get smarter with age but we can get wiser!

The product of this effort is focused on the EEG, and supported by other correlated biological and behavioral findings. It has provided a cohesive and simplified method for documenting and interpreting the functional status and interactions of sensory, motor, and cognitive mechanisms in the Central Nervous System during neurofeedback training. This knowledge can provide essential and valid guidance in this field for appropriate training protocols, and objective confirmation of functional outcomes.

About Dr. Sterman

Author of the first peer-reviewed publication on neurofeedback Discovered “Sensorimotor Rhythm, Founding member of Biofeedback Society of America, President of AAPB 1988, founder and president of Society for Advancement of Brain Analysis, Professor Emeritus, School of Medicine, UCLA. 140 peer-reviewed publications

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