Manipulating motor performance and memory through real-timefMRI neurofeedback
Frank Scharnowskia,b,∗, Ralf Veitc, Regine Zopfd, Petra Studere, Simon Bockf,Jörn Diedrichseng, Rainer Goebelh,i, Klaus Mathiakj, Niels Birbaumerc,k,Nikolaus WeiskopflaDepartment of Radiology and Medical Informatics—CIBM, University of Geneva, Rue Gabrielle-Perret-G 4, CH-1211 Geneva 14, SwitzerlandbInstitute of Bioengineering, Swiss Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL), STI-IBI Station 17, CH-1015 Lausanne, SwitzerlandcInstitute of Medical Psychology and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Tübingen, Gartenstrasse 29, 72074 Tübingen, GermanydPerception in Action Research Centre, ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition and its Disorders, Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University,Sydney 2109, NSW, AustraliaeDepartment of Child & Adolescent Mental Health, University Hospital of Erlangen, Schwabachanlage 6+10, 91054 Erlangen, GermanyfDepartment of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Centre for Mental Health, Hospitals of Stuttgart, Prießnitzweg 24, 70374 StuttgartgInstitute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, 17 Queen Square, London WC1 N 3AR, UKhDepartment of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht 6200 MD, The NetherlandsiNetherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), 1105 BA Amsterdam, The NetherlandsjDepartment of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen, GermanykOspedale San Camillo, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico, Venezia-Lido, ItalylWellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, UCL Institute of Neurology, University College London, 12 Queen Square, London WC1 N 3BG, UKa


a b s t r a c t
Task performance depends on ongoing brain activity which can be influenced by attention, arousal, ormotivation. However, such modulating factors of cognitive efficiency are unspecific, can be difficult tocontrol, 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-timefMRI neurofeedback. This was accomplished by training participants to simultaneously control ongoingbrain activity in circumscribed motor and memory-related brain areas, namely the supplementary motorarea and the parahippocampal cortex. We found that learned voluntary control over these functionallydistinct brain areas caused functionally specific behavioral effects, i.e. shortening of motor reaction timesand specific interference with memory encoding. The neurofeedback approach goes beyond improv-ing cognitive efficiency by unspecific psychological factors such as attention, arousal, or motivation. Itallows for directly manipulating sustained activity of task-relevant brain regions in order to yield specificbehavioral or cognitive effects.


Keywords:MemoryMotor performanceNeurofeedbackBrain imagingFunctional magnetic resonance imaging(fMRI)Real-time fMRISelf-regulationBrain training


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