Research Forum: The study of the brain maturation in children by EEG recording

6 Jun 2021

Electroencephalography (EEG) is the neuroscience technique to reveal the neural activities in the brain. This technique is safe and non-invasive, so it can be used for evaluating the brain functions in living humans.

In general, the brain waves recorded from EEG in healthy adults are usually divided into 4 main frequency bands consisting of:

(1) Delta wave (frequency < 4 Hz),

(2) Theta wave (frequency between 4 and 8 Hz),

(3) Alpha wave (frequency between 8 and 13 Hz), and

(4) Beta wave (frequency > 13 Hz).

Alpha and beta waves are mainly demonstrated during wakefulness while theta wave is predominantly observed during light sleep. Delta wave is seen during deep sleep or non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stage 3.

Interestingly, the pattern of brain waves during childhood is different from adulthood. In brief, the main brain wave during awakeness in young children is theta wave that gradually changes to alpha wave when they grow up. Therefore, presence of theta wave during wakefulness indicates childhood pattern brain activities. In contrast, the reduction of theta activities during awakeness in children represents advanced brain development and can be used as a marker for brain maturation.

Our research group uses the concept of an EEG marker for brain maturation to examine the brain development in students who are studying in Buddhist integrated education, a type of integrated education between standard curriculum and mindfulness training, from grade 1 to grade 6 (mind-edu group), compared to aged-match students in a standard curriculum (control group). The EEG results showed that students in mind-edu group had less theta power during resting-state EEG recording (less value – green to yellow color), compared to control group (higher value – red to orange color). The reduction of theta activities during wakefulness is compatible with the EEG characteristics of brain maturation.

This finding suggested that mindfulness training in school-age children can facilitate brain development. Moreover, the cognitive assessment with neuropsychological tests also confirmed the benefit of mindfulness training on cognitive development.


  1. Siripornpanich, V., Sampoon, K., Chaithirayanon, S., Kotchabhakdi, N., Chutabhakdikul, N. Enhancing Brain Maturation Through a Mindfulness-Based Education in Elementary School Children: a Quantitative EEG Study. Mindfulness. 2018; 9: 1877–84.


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