specific brain states is a compelling idea. But it’s also
a technically challenging one. “To figure out what a
person is attending to or remembering, and to do these
analyses in real time, is computationally demanding,”
Turk-Browne says. His lab and others at Princeton have
partnered with Intel in hopes of developing computer
systems and software that can handle that load.
While real-time fMRI isn’t yet ready for prime time,
proponents of biofeedback say the time is ripe for adding
those techniques to standard psychological practice. “It is
becoming mainstream to measure our physiology,” says
Thompson. Biofeedback is a logical next step.
For psychologists interested in adding the methods to
their practice, Lehrer suggests contacting the Association
for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback and the
Biofeedback Certification International Alliance to learn
about training and certification in both biofeedback and
“Mind-body medicine is so prominent right now,
and this is a way to help people learn mindfulness more
quickly,” Austad says. “This is a tool that should be in
most psychologists’ toolboxes.” n
• deBettencourt, M. T., Cohen, J. D., Lee, R. F., Norman, K. A.,
& Turk-Browne, N. B. (2015). Closed-loop training of attention
with real-time brain imaging. Nature Neuroscience, 18, 470–475.
• Micoulaud-Franchi, J. A., Geoffroy, P. A., Fond, G., Lopez, R.,
Bioulac, S., & Phillip, P. (2014). EEG neurofeedback treatments in
children with ADHD: An updated meta-analysis of randomized
controlled trials. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Advance online
publication. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00906
• Stoeckel, L. E., Garrison, K. A., Ghosh, S., Wighton, P., Hanlon,
C. A., Gilman, J. M., … Evins, A. E. (2014). Optimizing real time
fMRI neurofeedback for therapeutic discovery and development.
NeuroImage: Clinical, 5, 245–255. doi: 10.1016/ j.nicl.2014.07.002
• Young, K. Y., Zotev, V., Phillips, R., Misaki, M., Yuan,
H., Drevets, W. C., & Bodurka, J. (2014). Real-time fMRI
neurofeedback training of amygdala activity in patients with major
depressive disorder. PLOS ONE, 9( 2),
1–13. doi: 10.1371/journal.
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