Improving Emotion Regulation Through Real-Time Neurofeedback Training on the Right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex: Evidence From Behavioral and Brain Network Analyses

Front Hum Neurosci. 2021 Mar 17;15:620342. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2021.620342. eCollection 2021.


We investigated if emotion regulation can be improved through self-regulation training on non-emotional brain regions, as well as how to change the brain networks implicated in this process. During the training period, the participants were instructed to up-regulate their right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (rDLPFC) activity according to real-time functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) neurofeedback signals, and there was no emotional element. The results showed that the training significantly increased emotion regulation, resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC) within the emotion regulation network (ERN) and frontoparietal network (FPN), and rsFC between the ERN and amygdala; however, training did not influence the rsFC between the FPN and the amygdala. However, self-regulation training on rDLPFC significantly improved emotion regulation and generally increased the rsFCs within the networks; the rsFC between the ERN and amygdala was also selectively increased. The present study also described a safe approach that may improve emotion regulation through self-regulation training on non-emotional brain regions.

Keywords: amygdala; emotion regulation; real-time neurofeedback; resting-state functional connectivity; right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex.