fMRI feedback enhances emotion regulation as evidenced by a reduced amygdala response

P. Sarkheil*, A. Zilverstand, N. Kilian-Hütten, F. Schneider, R. Goebel, K. Mathiak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Deficits in emotion regulation are a prominent feature of psychiatric conditions and a promising target for treatment. For instance, cognitive reappraisal is regarded as an effective strategy for emotion regulation. Neurophysiological models have established the lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) as a key structure in the regulation of emotion processing through modulations of emotion-eliciting structures such as the amygdala. Feedback of the LPFC activity by real-time functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) may thus enhance the efficacy of cognitive reappraisal. During cognitive reappraisal of aversive visual stimuli, LPFC activity was fed back to the experimental group, whereas control participants received no such information. As a result, during reappraisal, amygdala activity was lower in the experimental group than in the controls. Furthermore, an increase of inter-hemispheric functional connectivity emerged in the feedback group. The current study extends the neurofeedback literature by suggesting that fMRI feedback can modify brain activity during a given task.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)326-332
JournalBehavioural Brain Research
Early online date22 Nov 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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