The Effect of Cognitive Training with Neurofeedback on Cognitive Function in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Healthcare (Basel). 2023 Mar 13;11(6):843. doi: 10.3390/healthcare11060843.


Background: Cognitive training aims to improve cognitive function through cognitive tasks or training games. Neurofeedback is a technique to monitor brain signals with either visual or auditory feedback. Previous studies suggest that a combination of cognitive training and neurofeedback has a superior effect on cognitive functions compared with cognitive training alone. However, no systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the benefits of cognitive training with neurofeedback (CTNF) exist. The purpose of this study was to examine the beneficial effects of CTNF in healthy adults using a systematic review and multilevel meta-analysis.

Methods: PubMed, Scopus, PsychoINFO, and MEDLINE were searched for research papers reporting the results of interventions using CTNF.

Results: After an initial screening of 234 records, three studies using near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) and one study using electroencephalography were extracted from the database. We performed a multi-level meta-analysis with three NIRS studies including 166 participants (mean ages ranged from 21.43 to 65.96 years). A multi-level meta-analysis revealed that CTNF has a beneficial effect on the episodic, long-term, and working memory domains.

Conclusions: Although three studies were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis, our results indicate that CTNF using NIRS would lead to improvements in memory functioning.

Keywords: NIRS; cognitive function; cognitive training; memory; neurofeedback.

Publication types

  • Review