Brainwaves and psyches: A genealogy of an extended self

Jonna Brenninkmeijer*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

6 Citaten (Scopus)
133 Downloads (Pure)


This article presents an ethnographical and historical analysis of the mode of being that is constituted when people use neurofeedback (brainwave training) for self-improvement. I analyse how human brainwaves have been associated with the psyche since their first demonstration by the psychiatrist Hans Berger, how they were connected to personality types by the cybernetician Grey Walter, and made trainable by the psychologists Joe Kamiya and Barry Sterman. I compare these cases with the reports of contemporary neurofeedback practitioners and users, and demonstrate that working on the self by working on the brain constitutes a complicated relationship between the brain and the self. Moreover, I demonstrate that combinations of brains and selves, material and spiritual ideas, and biological and social explanations are not confusions due to the ignorance of neurofeedback users, but amalgamations that emerged in the work and ideas of early scientists.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)115-133
Aantal pagina's19
TijdschriftHistory of the Human Sciences
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusPublished - jul.-2015

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