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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2017 Feb;18(2):86-100. doi: 10.1038/nrn.2016.164. Epub 2016 Dec 22.

Closed-loop brain training: the science of neurofeedback.

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Institute for Biological and Medical Engineering, Department of Psychiatry, and Section of Neuroscience, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Vicuña Mackenna 4860 Hernán Briones, piso 2, Macul 782-0436, Santiago, Chile.
Neurology and Imaging of Cognition Lab, University of Geneva, 1 rue Michel-Servet, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland.
National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 6707 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
Affidea Centre Diagnostique Radiologique de Carouge CDRC, Clos de la Fonderie 1, 1277 Carouge, Switzerland.
Psychiatric University Hospital, University of Zürich, Lenggstrasse 31, 8032 Zürich, Switzerland.
Department of Psychology, Imaging Research Center, University of Texas at Austin, 108 E Dean Keeton Street, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.
Department of Neurophysics, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Stephanstrasse 1, 04103 Leipzig, Germany.
Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, Institute of Neurology, University College London, 12 Queen Square, London WC1N 3BG, UK.
Defitech Chair in Brain-Machine Interface, Center for Neuroprosthetics, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Chemin de Mines 9, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland.
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Texas at Austin, 204 E Dean Keeton Street, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.
Wyss Center for Bio and Neuroengeneering, Chenin de Mines 9, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland.


Neurofeedback is a psychophysiological procedure in which online feedback of neural activation is provided to the participant for the purpose of self-regulation. Learning control over specific neural substrates has been shown to change specific behaviours. As a progenitor of brain-machine interfaces, neurofeedback has provided a novel way to investigate brain function and neuroplasticity. In this Review, we examine the mechanisms underlying neurofeedback, which have started to be uncovered. We also discuss how neurofeedback is being used in novel experimental and clinical paradigms from a multidisciplinary perspective, encompassing neuroscientific, neuroengineering and learning-science viewpoints.

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