Feasibility and utility of amygdala neurofeedback

Noam Goldway, Itamar Jalon, Jackob N. Keynan, Lydia Hellrung, Annette Horstmann, Christian Paret, Talma Hendler*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Amygdala NeuroFeedback (NF) have the potential of being a valuable non-invasive intervention tool in many psychiatric disporders. However, the feasibility and best practices of this method have not been systematically examined. The current article presents a review of amygdala-NF studies, an analytic summary of study design parameters, and examination of brain mechanisms related to successful amygdala-NF performance. A meta-analysis of 33 publications showed that real amygdala-NF facilitates learned modulation compared to control conditions. In addition, while variability in study dsign parameters is high, these design choices are implicitly organized by the targeted valence domain (positive or negative). However, in most cases the neuro-behavioral effects of targeting such domains were not directly assessed. Lastly, re-analyzing six data sets of amygdala-fMRI-NF revealed that successful amygdala down-modulation is coupled with deactivation of the posterior insula and nodes in the Default-Mode-Network. Our findings suggest that amygdala self-modulation can be acquired using NF. Yet, additional controlled studies, relevant behavioral tasks before and after NF intervention, and neural 'target engagement' measures are critically needed to establish efficacy and specificity. In addition, the fMRI analysis presented here suggest that common accounts regarding the brain network involved in amygdala NF might reflect unsuccessful modulation attempts rather than successful modulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104694
JournalNeuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews
StatePublished - Jul 2022


FundersFunder number
European Union's Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation
European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation945539
Ionnovation authority Israel ministry of commerce67951
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme794395
European Commission
Israel Science Foundation2923/20


    • Amygdala
    • Brain Computer Interface
    • Meta-analysis
    • Neurofeedback
    • RDoC
    • Real-time fMRI


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