Imaging the neural effects of cognitive bias modification training

Neuroimage. 2017 May 1:151:81-91. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.07.041. Epub 2016 Jul 21.


Cognitive bias modification (CBM) was first developed as an experimental tool to examine the causal role of cognitive biases, and later developed into complementary interventions in experimental psychopathology research. CBM involves the "re-training" of implicit biases by means of multiple trials of computerized tasks, and has been demonstrated to change anxious, depressive and drug-seeking behavior, including clinically relevant effects. Recently, the field has progressed by combining CBM with neuroimaging techniques, which provides insight into neural mechanisms underlying how CBM affects implicit biases in anxiety, depression, and addiction, and potentially other pathologies. This narrative literature review summarizes the state of the art of studies on the neural effects of CBM and provides directions for future research in the field. A total of 13 published studies were found and discussed: n=9 in anxiety, n=2 in depressive behavior, and n=2 in addiction.

Keywords: Addiction; Anxiety; Bias; CBM; Cognitive bias modification; Depression; Implicit measures; Neuroimaging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anxiety Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / therapy
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy / methods*
  • Depressive Disorder / physiopathology*
  • Depressive Disorder / therapy
  • Humans
  • Substance-Related Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy