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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Regulating the anterior medial prefrontal cortex : exploratory investigation of real-time fMRI training Smith, Rachelle Marie


The feasibility of using real-time functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) feedback regarding the level of activation in rostromedial prefrontal cortex (rMPFC) to learn improved regulation of this brain area was examined in a group of 5 young adults. Subjects received real-time feedback from the target brain region while engaging in a blocked-design task involving alternating blocks of attempted up-regulation and down-regulation of the target brain region. A transient negative emotional state was induced prior to each scanning session. Subjects completed 6 scanning sessions (a pre-training session, 4 feedback sessions and a post-training session - no feedback was provided for pre and post-training sessions). The guideline strategy provided to subjects of engaging in emotional awareness during up-regulation and bodily awareness during down-regulation was found to consistently regulate the region in the pre-training session prior to the fMRI feedback sessions. This finding is in line with the previously proposed role of the rMPFC in emotional awareness. In contrast to previous real-time fMRI findings, greater recruitment of the region was observed in the pre-training session compared to the post-training session, with a non-significant negative trend observed across feedback sessions. These results suggest that there may be limitations to which the feedback techniques successfully employed for other brain regions extend to yet unexplored brain regions.

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