Neurofeedback may aid self-motivation

Posted on March 5, 2016

Photo: flickr

Using a new brain imaging strategy, Duke University scientists have now taken a first step in understanding how to manipulate specific neural circuits using thoughts and imagery.

The technique is part of a larger approach called 'neurofeedback,' which gives participants a dynamic readout of brain activity, in this case from a brain area critical for motivation.

Neurofeedback is a specialized form of biofeedback, a technique that allows people to monitor aspects of their own physiology, such as heart rate and skin temperature. It can help generate strategies to overcome anxiety and stress or to cope with other medical conditions.

When the scientists provided participants with neurofeedback from the VTA (ventral tegmental area), presented in the form of a fluctuating thermometer, participants were able to learn which strategies worked, and ultimately adopt more effective strategies. Compared to control groups, the neurofeedback-trained participants successfully elevated their VTA activity.

The neurofeedback training also activated other regions involved in learning and experiencing rewards, confirming that, at least in the short term, the brain changes its activity more broadly as a result of neurofeedback, Dickerson. the co-author of the study said.

The group is working on those studies now and also plans to conduct the same study in participants with depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.


Category(s):Self help groups

Source material from Duke University


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