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Manipulating motor performance and memory through real-time fMRI neurofeedback


Scharnowski, Frank; Veit, Ralf; Zopf, Regine; Studer, Petra; Bock, Simon; Diedrichsen, Jörn; Goebel, Rainer; Mathiak, Klaus; Birbaumer, Niels; Weiskopf, Nikolaus (2015). Manipulating motor performance and memory through real-time fMRI neurofeedback. Biological Psychology, 108:85-97.

Abstract

Task performance depends on ongoing brain activity which can be influenced by attention, arousal, or motivation. However, such modulating factors of cognitive efficiency are unspecific, can be difficult to control, and are not suitable to facilitate neural processing in a regionally specific manner. Here, we non-pharmacologically manipulated regionally specific brain activity using technically sophisticated real-time fMRI neurofeedback. This was accomplished by training participants to simultaneously control ongoing brain activity in circumscribed motor and memory-related brain areas, namely the supplementary motor area and the parahippocampal cortex. We found that learned voluntary control over these functionally distinct brain areas caused functionally specific behavioral effects, i.e. shortening of motor reaction times and specific interference with memory encoding. The neurofeedback approach goes beyond improving cognitive efficiency by unspecific psychological factors such as attention, arousal, or motivation. It allows for directly manipulating sustained activity of task-relevant brain regions in order to yield specific behavioral or cognitive effects.

Abstract

Task performance depends on ongoing brain activity which can be influenced by attention, arousal, or motivation. However, such modulating factors of cognitive efficiency are unspecific, can be difficult to control, and are not suitable to facilitate neural processing in a regionally specific manner. Here, we non-pharmacologically manipulated regionally specific brain activity using technically sophisticated real-time fMRI neurofeedback. This was accomplished by training participants to simultaneously control ongoing brain activity in circumscribed motor and memory-related brain areas, namely the supplementary motor area and the parahippocampal cortex. We found that learned voluntary control over these functionally distinct brain areas caused functionally specific behavioral effects, i.e. shortening of motor reaction times and specific interference with memory encoding. The neurofeedback approach goes beyond improving cognitive efficiency by unspecific psychological factors such as attention, arousal, or motivation. It allows for directly manipulating sustained activity of task-relevant brain regions in order to yield specific behavioral or cognitive effects.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Psychiatric University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy, and Psychosomatics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Neuroscience Center Zurich
04 Faculty of Medicine > Center for Integrative Human Physiology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:Brain imaging; Brain training; Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); Memory; Motor performance; Neurofeedback; Real-time fMRI; Self-regulation
Language:English
Date:May 2015
Deposited On:25 Sep 2017 16:39
Last Modified:09 Dec 2017 02:22
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0301-0511
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsycho.2015.03.009
PubMed ID:25796342

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