Functional near-infrared spectroscopy-informed neurofeedback: regional-specific modulation of lateral orbitofrontal activation and cognitive flexibility.

Research paper by Keshuang K Li, Yihan Y Jiang, Yilong Y Gong, Weihua W Zhao, Zhiying Z Zhao, Xiaolong X Liu, Keith M KM Kendrick, Chaozhe C Zhu, Benjamin B Becker

Indexed on: 15 Jan '20Published on: 14 Jan '20Published in: Neurophotonics


Cognitive flexibility and reward processing critically rely on the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). Dysregulations in these domains and orbitofrontal activation have been reported in major psychiatric disorders. Hemodynamic brain imaging-informed neurofeedback allows regional-specific control over brain activation and thus may represent an innovative intervention to regulate orbitofrontal dysfunctions. Against this background the present proof-of-concept study evaluates the feasibility and behavioral relevance of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)-assisted neurofeedback training of the lateral orbitofrontal cortex (lOFC). In a randomized sham-controlled between-subject design, 60 healthy participants have undergone four subsequent runs of training to enhance the lOFC activation. Training-induced changes in the lOFC, attentional set-shifting performance, and reward experience have served as primary outcomes. Feedback from the target channel significantly increases the regional-specific lOFC activation over the four training runs in comparison with sham neurofeedback. The real-time OFC neurofeedback group demonstrates a trend for faster responses during the set-shifting relative to the sham neurofeedback group. Within the real-time OFC neurofeedback group, stronger training-induced lOFC increases are associated with higher reward experience. The present results demonstrate that fNIRS-informed neurofeedback allows regional-specific regulation of lOFC activation and may have the potential to modulate the associated behavioral domains. As such fNIRS-informed neurofeedback may represent a promising strategy to regulate OFC dysfunctions in psychiatric disorders. © The Authors. Published by SPIE under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. Distribution or reproduction of this work in whole or in part requires full attribution of the original publication, including its DOI.