Near-infrared spectroscopy-based frontal lobe neurofeedback integrated in virtual reality modulates brain and behavior in highly impulsive adults

  • Based on neurofeedback (NF) training as a neurocognitive treatment in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), we designed a randomized, controlled functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) NF intervention embedded in an immersive virtual reality classroom in which participants learned to control overhead lighting with their dorsolateral prefrontal brain activation. We tested the efficacy of the intervention on healthy adults displaying high impulsivity as a sub-clinical population sharing common features with ADHD. Twenty participants, 10 in an experimental and 10 in a shoulder muscle-based electromyography control group, underwent eight training sessions across 2 weeks. Training was bookended by a pre- and post-test including go/no-go, n-back, and stop-signal tasks (SST). Results indicated a significant reduction in commission errors on the no-go task with a simultaneous increase in prefrontal oxygenated hemoglobin concentration for the experimental group, but not for the control group. Furthermore, the ability of the subjects to gain control over the feedback parameter correlated strongly with the reduction in commission errors for the experimental, but not for the control group, indicating the potential importance of learning feedback control in moderating behavioral outcomes. In addition, participants of the fNIRS group showed a reduction in reaction time variability on the SST. Results indicate a clear effect of our NF intervention in reducing impulsive behavior possibly via a strengthening of frontal lobe functioning. Virtual reality additions to conventional NF may be one way to improve the ecological validity and symptom-relevance of the training situation, hence positively affecting transfer of acquired skills to real life.

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Author:Justin Hudak, Friederike Blume, Thomas Dresler, Florian Benedikt Häußinger, Tobias J. Renner, Andreas Jochen FallgatterORCiD, Caterina GawrilowORCiDGND, Ann-Christine EhlisORCiDGND
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Frontiers in human neuroscience
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
Place of publication:Lausanne
Contributor(s):Soledad Ballesteros
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2017
Date of first Publication:2017/09/04
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2020/02/17
Tag:ADHD; NIRS; impulsivity; neurofeedback; virtual reality
Issue:Art. 425
Page Number:13
First Page:1
Last Page:13
Copyright © 2017 Hudak, Blume, Dresler, Haeussinger, Renner, Fallgatter, Gawrilow and Ehlis. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) or licensor are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Angeschlossene und kooperierende Institutionen / Deutsches Institut für Internationale Pädagogische Forschung (DIPF)
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0