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Real-time fMRI & Neurofeedback

Neurofeedback, i.e. the combination of introspective examination or modulation of ongoing psychological processes and neuroimaging, aims to address one of the most interesting questions in cognitive and clinical neuroscience: how can subjects gain control over their brain processes and therewith mediate mental and cognitive experiences? In general, neurofeedback brings brain activation into awareness targeting the activity of a specific brain area through direct visual feedback and positive reinforcement. Rather than modulating brain activity through the engagement in a cognitive task, subjects are supposed to learn to reliably evoke a certain mental state that corresponds to a certain activity in a circumscribed brain area. Along with a new development in fMRI methodology, real-time fMRI, recent achievements in analysis of brain imaging data now enable researchers to train individuals to actively gain control over their brain activation (neurofeedback).

Within the fMRI research group, the techniques of neurofeedback and real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging are currently being utilized in healthy subjects. In the end results from ongoing studies will allow for the development of new treatment regimes for patients with severe neuropsychiatric disorders such as addiction, schizophrenia, dementia and stroke. Ultimately, these technologies will enable neuropsychiatric patients to up- or downregulate deficient brain areas voluntarily to attenuate specific symptoms.

Echtzeit fMRT & Neurofeedback