Neurofeedback offers hope for attention training

May, 2011

Receiving immediate feedback on the activity in a brain region enabled people to improve their control of that region’s activity, thus improving their concentration.

I’ve always been intrigued by neurofeedback training. But when it first raised its head, technology was far less sophisticated. Now a new study has used real-time functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) feedback from the rostrolateral prefrontal cortex to improve people's ability to control their thoughts and focus their attention.

In the study, participants performed tasks that either raised or lowered mental introspection in 30-second intervals over four six-minute sessions. Those with access to real-time fMRI feedback could see their RLPFC activity increase during introspection and decrease during non-introspective thoughts, such as mental tasks that focused on body sensations. These participants became significantly better at controlling their thoughts and performing the mental tasks. Moreover, the improved regulation was reflected only in activity in the rostrolateral prefrontal cortex. Those given inaccurate or no brain feedback showed no such improvement.

The findings point to a means of improving attentional control, and also raise hope for clinical treatments of conditions that can benefit from improved awareness and regulation of one's thoughts, including depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorders.

Reference: 

Related News

Our life-experiences contain a wealth of new and old information. The relative proportions of these change, of course, as we age. But how do we know whether we should be encoding new information or retrieving old information?

I have said before that there is little evidence that

A British study looking at possible gender differences in the effects of math anxiety involved 433 secondary school children (11-16 years old) completing customized (year appropriate) mental mathematics tests as well as questionnaires designed to assess math anxiety and (separately) test anxiety

I’ve reported before on the evidence suggesting that carriers of the ‘Alzheimer’s gene’, APOE4, tend to have smaller brain volumes and perform worse on cognitive tests, despite being cognitively ‘normal’.

A study involving 75 perimenopausal women aged 40 to 60 has found that those with memory complaints tended to show impairments in

A new study explains how marijuana impairs

A review of 10 observational and four intervention studies as said to provide strong evidence for a positive relationship between physical activity and academic performance in young people (6-18).

Back in 2008, I reported on a small study that found that daily doses of Pycnogenol® for three months improved

We’re all familiar with the experience of going to another room and forgetting why we’ve done so. The problem has been largely attributed to a failure of attention, but recent research suggests something rather more specific is going on.

This is another demonstration of stereotype threat, which is also a nice demonstration of the contextual nature of intelligence. The study involved 70 volunteers (average age 25; range 18-49), who were put in groups of 5.

Pages

Subscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest newsSubscribe to Latest health newsSubscribe to Latest news