Real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rtfMRI) enables the non-invasive online extraction of information about human brain activity and thus online feedback of brain activity. This neurofeedback can be used to train the self-regulation of specific brain activity and has been shown to result in behavioural effects. The trained regulation and consequent behavioural effects do not only offer the possibility for studying the relationship between brain physiology and behaviour but may also achieve clinical treatment effects. Thus, this relatively novel neurofeedback approach has advanced from proof-of-concept studies to ongoing clinical trials within less than 15 years.
This presentation will introduce the concept of rtfMRI neurofeedback. Based on example studies from the fields of fundamental and clinical neuroscience (eg vision, movement disorders), it will discuss the importance and potential of the approach and its methodological and conceptual challenges. The presentation will also attempt to anticipate some future developments of rtfMRI neurofeedback methods and applications.
Prof. Nikolaus Weiskopf is currently Director of the Department of Neurophysics, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Science, Germany and Professor of MR Physics and Neuroimaging at UCL Institute of Neurology, UK. His primary research interest is MRI-based in-vivo histology and functional microstructure imaging. Prof. Weiskopf is a member of the Young Academy of Europe, the UK Biobank Imaging Extension External Advisory Board and the International Scientific Advisory Board, Salzburg University, Austria.