Enhanced attention-related alertness following right anterior insular cortex neurofeedback training

iScience. 2024 Jan 15;27(2):108915. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2024.108915. eCollection 2024 Feb 16.


The anterior insular cortex, a central node of the salience network, plays a critical role in cognitive control and attention. Here, we investigated the feasibility of enhancing attention using real-time fMRI neurofeedback training that targets the right anterior insular cortex (rAIC). 56 healthy adults underwent two neurofeedback training sessions. The experimental group received feedback from neural responses in the rAIC, while control groups received sham feedback from the primary visual cortex or no feedback. Cognitive functioning was evaluated before, immediately after, and three months post-training. Our results showed that only the rAIC neurofeedback group successfully increased activity in the rAIC. Furthermore, this group showed enhanced attention-related alertness up to three months after the training. Our findings provide evidence for the potential of rAIC neurofeedback as a viable approach for enhancing attention-related alertness, which could pave the way for non-invasive therapeutic strategies to address conditions characterized by attention deficits.

Keywords: Biological sciences; Neuroscience; Sensory neuroscience; Techniques in neuroscience.