20 Apr

Real-time fMRI neurofeedback and self-regulation of negative emotional affectivity

A review paper describing progress and challenges of rtfMRI neurofeedback in the regulation of negative emotions. The review critically describes and contrasts a selection of the existing scientific literature on this topic, and discusses the contribution of these sources to your central question.

The paper was written for a writing assignment during my second year bachelor degree. The article was not peer reviewed or published in any scientific journal.


Research showed that negative emotions not only lead to psychological problems and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression, but they can also cause impairment of physical health including tobacco dependence, coronary heart disease and cancer. Real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rtfMRI) neurofeedback is a new technique that involves training patients to control the activation in specific brain regions. The method involves individualizing the brain area where the activity needs to be regulated and providing the participant with a real-time feedback about the activation. rtfMRI neurofeedback has been used to train subjects to regulate brain regions involved in negative affectivity. The most important brain regions involved in emotional regulation are the amygdala, the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and the insula. The paper describes current discoveries in which participants learned to regulate these brain areas giving satisfactory evidence for emotional regulation with rtfMRI, and proposes new challenges for future research.

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