Self-regulation of regional cortical activity using real-time fmri: the right inferior frontal gyrus and linguistic processing

Giuseppina Rota, Ranganatha Sitaram, Ralf Veit, Michael Erb, Nikolaus Weiskopf, Grzegorz Dogil, Niels Birbaumer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neurofeedback of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be used to acquire selective control over activation in circumscribed brain areas, potentially inducing behavioral changes, depending on the functional role of the targeted cortical sites. In the present study, we used fMRI-neurofeedback to train subjects to enhance regional activation in the right inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) to influence speech processing and to modulate language-related performance. Seven subjects underwent real-time fMRI-neurofeedback training and succeeded in achieving voluntary regulation of their right Brodmann's area (BA) 45. To examine short-term behavioral impact, two linguistic tasks were carried out immediately before and after the training. A significant improvement of accuracy was observed for the identification of emotional prosodic intonations but not for syntactic processing. This evidence supports a role for the right IFG in the processing of emotional information and evaluation of affective salience. The present study confirms the efficacy of fMRI-biofeedback for noninvasive self-regulation of circumscribed brain activity. Hum Brain Mapp 30:1605-1614, 2009. VVC 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1605-1614
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2009


  • Operant conditioning
  • Prosody
  • Real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging
  • Right inferior frontal gyrus
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anatomy
  • Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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