Brain Topography

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 197–207 | Cite as

Upregulation of the Rostral Anterior Cingulate Cortex can Alter the Perception of Emotions: fMRI-Based Neurofeedback at 3 and 7 T

  • M. Gröne
  • M. Dyck
  • Y. Koush
  • S. Bergert
  • K. A. Mathiak
  • E. M. Alawi
  • M. Elliott
  • K. Mathiak
Original Paper


Recent advances in real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (rt-fMRI) techniques enable online feedback about momentary brain activity from a localized region of interest. The anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) as a central hub for cognitive and emotional networks and its modulation has been suggested to elicit mood changes. In the presented real-time fMRI neurofeedback experiment at a 3 and a 7 T scanner we enabled participants to regulate ACC activity within one training session. The session consisted of three training runs of 8.5 min where subjects received online feedback about their current ACC activity. Before and after each run we presented emotional prosody. Subjects rated these stimuli according to their emotional valence and arousal, which served as an implicit mood measure. We found increases in ACC activation at 3 T (n = 15) and at 7 T (n = 9) with a higher activation success for the 3 T group. FMRI signal control of the rostral ACC depended on signal quality and predicted a valence bias in the rating of emotional prosody. Real-time fMRI neurofeedback of the ACC is feasible at different magnetic field strengths and can modulate localized ACC activity and emotion perception. It promises non-invasive therapeutic approaches for different psychiatric disorders characterized by impaired self-regulation.


Real-time fMRI Neurofeedback Anterior cingulate cortex High field fMRI Prosody Emotions Valence Arousal 



This study has been supported by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, DFG; IRTG 1328, MA 2631/4-1). We gratefully acknowledge the technical assistance of Andreas Krüger and Paul Mols.

Supplementary material (221 kb)
Electronic supplementary material 1 (ZIP 221 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Gröne
    • 1
    • 2
    • 8
  • M. Dyck
    • 1
  • Y. Koush
    • 3
    • 4
  • S. Bergert
    • 1
  • K. A. Mathiak
    • 1
    • 5
  • E. M. Alawi
    • 1
    • 2
  • M. Elliott
    • 6
  • K. Mathiak
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and PsychosomaticsRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  2. 2.Interdisciplinary Centre for Clinical Research, Medical SchoolRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  3. 3.Department of Radiology and Medical Informatics CIBMUniversity of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  4. 4.Institute of BioengineeringÉcole Polytechnique Fédérale de LausanneLausanneSwitzerland
  5. 5.Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and PsychotherapyRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany
  6. 6.Department of RadiologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  7. 7.Jülich-Aachen Research Alliance (JARA)-Translational Brain Medicine, JülichAachenGermany
  8. 8.Department of Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, Medical SchoolRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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