Self-regulation of regional cortical activity using real-time fMRI: the right inferior frontal gyrus and linguistic processing

Hum Brain Mapp. 2009 May;30(5):1605-14. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20621.


Neurofeedback of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be used to acquire selective control over activation in circumscribed brain areas, potentially inducing behavioral changes, depending on the functional role of the targeted cortical sites. In the present study, we used fMRI-neurofeedback to train subjects to enhance regional activation in the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) to influence speech processing and to modulate language-related performance. Seven subjects underwent real-time fMRI-neurofeedback training and succeeded in achieving voluntary regulation of their right Brodmann's area (BA) 45. To examine short-term behavioral impact, two linguistic tasks were carried out immediately before and after the training. A significant improvement of accuracy was observed for the identification of emotional prosodic intonations but not for syntactic processing. This evidence supports a role for the right IFG in the processing of emotional information and evaluation of affective salience. The present study confirms the efficacy of fMRI-biofeedback for noninvasive self-regulation of circumscribed brain activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biofeedback, Psychology / methods*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / blood supply*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Linguistics*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Oxygen