Neurofeedback Intervention for Emotional Behavior Regulation in Schizophrenia: New Experimental Evidences from Optical Imaging

Keywords: Emotional behavior, fNIRS, Neurofeedback, Prefrontal cortex, Schizophrenia


Recent neuroscience research tried to identify biological markers underlying schizophrenia’s (SZ) symptoms.  Results showed a functional hypofrontality in SZ patients during both cognitive and emotional tasks.  Here, we submitted an experimental (E) group of patients to a neurofeedback (NF) training during emotion induction (T1) and assessed its efficacy by comparing the frontal neural activity before (T0) and after it (T2), with regard to a control (C) group.  Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used during an emotional task with valence and arousal rating.  Behavioral results showed that patients of both groups could identify pictures’ valence, both in T0 and T2.  However, a significant interaction effect revealed that negative and positive stimuli received more positive values in T2 compared to T0 only in E group, as a consequence of an alleged more functional management of negative feelings.  Such results were paralleled by imaging data that showed increased O2Hb levels over frontal areas for positive and negative pictures compared to neutral ones, which were even more evident in the E group in T2.  The preliminary results of the present study highlight the possible application of NF training to sustain patients’ achieving more awareness and regulation during emotion processing.


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