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Sensorimotor rhythm

sensorimotor rhythm, sensorimotor rhythm training
The sensorimotor rhythm SMR is a brain wave It is an oscillatory idle rhythm of synchronized electric brain activity It appears in spindles in recordings of EEG, MEG, and ECoG over the sensorimotor cortex For most individuals, the frequency of the SMR is in the range of 13 to 15 Hz1


  • 1 Meaning
  • 2 Relevance in research
    • 21 Neurofeedback
  • 3 See also
    • 31 Brain waves
  • 4 References
  • 5 Further reading


The meaning of SMR is not fully understood Phenomenologically, a person is producing a stronger SMR amplitude when the corresponding sensorimotor areas are idle, eg during states of immobility SMR typically decreases in amplitude when the corresponding sensory or motor areas are activated, eg during motor tasks and even during motor imagery2

Conceptually, SMR is sometimes mixed up with alpha waves of occipital origin, the strongest source of neural signals in the EEG One reason might be, that without appropriate spatial filtering the SMR is very difficult to detect because it is usually flooded by the stronger occipital alpha waves The feline SMR has been noted as being analogous to the human mu rhythm3

Relevance in researchedit


Neurofeedback training can be used to gain control over the SMR activity Neurofeedback practitioners believe that this feedback enables the subject to learn the regulation of their own SMR People with learning difficulties,4 ADHD,5 epilepsy,6 and autism7 may benefit from an increase in SMR activity via neurofeedback In the field of Brain-Computer Interfaces BCI, the deliberate modification of the SMR amplitude during motor imagery can be used to control external applications8

See alsoedit

  • Electroencephalography

Brain wavesedit

  • Delta wave – 01 – 3 Hz
  • Theta wave – 4 – 7 Hz
  • Alpha wave – 8 – 15 Hz
  • Mu wave – 75 – 125 Hz
  • SMR wave – 125 – 155 Hz
  • Beta wave – 16 – 31 Hz
  • Gamma wave – 32 – 100 Hz


  1. ^ Arroyo, S; Lesser, RP; Gordon, B; Uematsu, S; Jackson, D; Webber, R 1993 "Functional significance of the mu rhythm of human cortex: an electrophysiologic study with subdural electrodes" Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 87 3: 76–87 doi:101016/0013-46949390114-B PMID 7691544 
  2. ^ Ernst Niedermeyer, Fernando Lopes da Silva Electroencephalography Basic principles, Clinical Applications and Related Fields 3rd edition, Williams & Wilkins Baltimore 1993
  3. ^ "Morphological evidence that feline SMR and human Mu are analogous rhythms" Brain Research Bulletin 4: 431–433 doi:101016/S0361-92307980021-0 
  4. ^ Tansey MA February 1984 "EEG sensorimotor rhythm biofeedback training: some effects on the neurologic precursors of learning disabilities" Int J Psychophysiol 1 2: 163–77 doi:101016/0167-87608490036-9 PMID 6542077 
  5. ^ Vernon, David; Tobias Egner; Nick Cooper; Theresa Compton; Claire Neilands; Amna Sheri; John Gruzelier January 2003 "The effect of training distinct neurofeedback protocols on aspects of cognitive performance" International Journal of Psychophysiology 47 1: 75–85 doi:101016/S0167-87600200091-0 PMID 12543448 
  6. ^ Egner, Tobias; M Barry Sterman February 2006 "Neurofeedback treatment of epilepsy: from basic rationale to practical application" Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics Future Drugs 6 2: 247–257 doi:101586/1473717562247 PMID 16466304 
  7. ^ Pineda, Jaime; Brang, D; Hecht, E; Edwards, L; Carey, S; Bacon, M; Futagaki, C; Suk, D; Tom, J; Birnbaum, C; Rork, A 2008 "Positive behavioral and electrophysiological changes following neurofeedback training in children with autism" Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders 2 3: 557–581 doi:101016/jrasd200712003 
  8. ^ Andrea Kübler and Klaus-Robert Müller An introduction to brain computer interfacing In Guido Dornhege, Jose del R Millán, Thilo Hinterberger, Dennis McFarland, and Klaus-Robert Müller, editors, Toward Brain-Computer Interfacing, pages 1-25 MIT press, Cambridge, MA, 2007

Further readingedit

  • Robbins, Jim 2000 A Symphony in the Brain ISBN 0-87113-807-7 
  • Sterman, M B; Wyrwicka, W 1967 "EEG correlates of sleep: Evidence for separate forebrain substrates" Brain Research 6 1: 143–163 doi:101016/0006-89936790186-2 PMID 6052533 
  • Wyrwicka, W; Sterman, M B 1968 "Instrumental conditioning of sensorimotor cortex eeg spindles in the waking cat" Physiology and Behavior 3 5: 703–707 doi:101016/0031-93846890139-X 
  • Warren, Jeff 2007 "The SMR" The Head Trip: Adventures on the Wheel of Consciousness Toronto: Random House Canada ISBN 978-0-679-31408-0 

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