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Trends Cogn Sci. 2007 Nov;11(11):473-81. Epub 2007 Nov 7.

Reading and controlling human brain activation using real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging.

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  • 1Omneuron 3T MRI Research Center, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA.


Understanding how to control how the brain's functioning mediates mental experience and the brain's processing to alter cognition or disease are central projects of cognitive and neural science. The advent of real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rtfMRI) now makes it possible to observe the biology of one's own brain while thinking, feeling and acting. Recent evidence suggests that people can learn to control brain activation in localized regions, with corresponding changes in their mental operations, by observing information from their brain while inside an MRI scanner. For example, subjects can learn to deliberately control activation in brain regions involved in pain processing with corresponding changes in experienced pain. This may provide a novel, non-invasive means of observing and controlling brain function, potentially altering cognitive processes or disease.

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