Connectivity-based neurofeedback: Dynamic causal modeling for real-time fMRI
Neurofeedback based on real-time fMRI is an emerging technique that can be used to train voluntary control of brain activity. Such brain training has been shown to lead to behavioral effects that are specific to the functional role of the targeted brain area. However, real-time fMRI-based neurofeedback so far was limited to mainly training localized brain activity within a region of interest. Here, we overcome this limitation by presenting near real-time dynamic causal modeling in order to provide feedback information based on connectivity between brain areas rather than activity within a single brain area. Using a visual-spatial attention paradigm, we show that participants can voluntarily control a feedback signal that is based on the Bayesian model comparison between two predefined model alternatives, i.e. the connectivity between left visual cortex and left parietal cortex vs. the connectivity between right visual cortex and right parietal cortex. Our new approach thus allows for training voluntary control over specific functional brain networks. Because most mental functions and most neurological disorders are associated with network activity rather than with activity in a single brain region, this novel approach is an important methodological innovation in order to more directly target functionally relevant brain networks. (C) 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.