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Neuroscience. 2016 Apr 5. pii: S0306-4522(16)30058-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2016.04.003. [Epub ahead of print]

Neural correlates of success and failure signals during neurofeedback learning.

Author information

  • 1FIDMAG Germanes Hospital√†ries - CIBERSAM, Sant Boi de Llobregat, Barcelona 08830, Spain; Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King's College London, SE5 8AF, UK; Centre for Psychiatry Research, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm 171 77, Sweden. Electronic address: jradua@fidmag.com.
  • 2Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
  • 3Department of Psychiatry, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06511, USA; Department of Psychology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06519, USA.

Abstract

Feedback-driven learning, observed across phylogeny and of clear adaptive value, is frequently operationalized in simple operant conditioning paradigms, but it can be much more complex, driven by abstract representations of success and failure. This study investigates the neural processes involved in processing success and failure during feedback learning, which are not well understood. Data analyzed were acquired during a multisession neurofeedback experiment in which ten participants were presented with, and instructed to modulate, the activity of their orbitofrontal cortex with the aim of decreasing their anxiety. We assessed the regional blood-oxygenation-level-dependent response to the individualized neurofeedback signals of success and failure across twelve functional runs acquired in two different magnetic resonance sessions in each of ten individuals. Neurofeedback signals of failure correlated early during learning with deactivation in the precuneus/posterior cingulate and neurofeedback signals of success correlated later during learning with deactivation in the medial prefrontal/anterior cingulate cortex. The intensity of the latter deactivations predicted the efficacy of the neurofeedback intervention in the reduction of anxiety. These findings indicate a role for regulation of the default mode network during feedback learning, and suggest a higher sensitivity to signals of failure during the early feedback learning and to signals of success subsequently.

KEYWORDS:

failure; feedback; functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); learning; neurofeedback; success

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