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Brain training can alter opinions of faces

Neurofeedback technique nudges people to shift neutral judgments to like or dislike

2:01pm, September 8, 2016
human faces

NEUROFEEDBACK  Brain training method changed people’s judgments of faces and may hold promise for reducing harmful fears.

By sneakily influencing brain activity, scientists changed people’s opinions of faces. This covert neural sculpting relied on a sophisticated brain training technique in which people learn to direct their thoughts in specific ways.

The results, published September 8 in PLOS Biology, support the idea that neurofeedback methods could help reveal how the brain’s behavior gives rise to perceptions and emotions. What’s more, the technique may ultimately prove useful for easing traumatic memories and treating disorders such as depression. The research is still at an early stage, says neurofeedback researcher Michelle Hampson of Yale University, but, she notes, “I think it has great promise.”

Takeo Watanabe of Brown University and colleagues used functional MRI to measure people’s brain activity in an area called the cingulate cortex as participants saw pictures of

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