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Cortex. 2016 Jan;74:247-61. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2015.10.024. Epub 2015 Nov 18.

The self-regulating brain and neurofeedback: Experimental science and clinical promise.

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McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada. Electronic address:
McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada. Electronic address:
McGill University, Montreal, QC, Canada; The Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Montreal, QC, Canada. Electronic address:


Neurofeedback, one of the primary examples of self-regulation, designates a collection of techniques that train the brain and help to improve its function. Since coming on the scene in the 1960s, electroencephalography-neurofeedback has become a treatment vehicle for a host of mental disorders; however, its clinical effectiveness remains controversial. Modern imaging technologies of the living human brain (e.g., real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging) and increasingly rigorous research protocols that utilize such methodologies begin to shed light on the underlying mechanisms that may facilitate more effective clinical applications. In this paper we focus on recent technological advances in the field of human brain imaging and discuss how these modern methods may influence the field of neurofeedback. Toward this end, we outline the state of the evidence and sketch out future directions to further explore the potential merits of this contentious therapeutic prospect.


Neurofeedback; Neuroimaging; Psychiatry; Self-regulation; rtfMRI

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