Perceptual Learning through Neurofeedback Alone

Recently a talented vision scientist in my lab published a paper in Science showing that one can induce perceptual learning in an experimental participant through neurofeedback alone (i.e. they were able to improve the fit between the participants’ brain activity and an fMRI decoder for a particular orientation by asking the participants to “somehow regulate activity in the posterior part of the brain to make the solid green
disc that was presented 6 s later as large as possible,” where the participants had no idea what increasing the size of that disc represented in their brain). As one blog puts it, “BU wizards find success in unconscious neurofeedback learning, announce plans for secret lair.” Impressive stuff!

2 Comments

  1. Bill

    The scary thing about this is not the new method of learning, it’s the distant possibility of baddies using this as a better subliminal messaging system, for attitude control 🙁

  2. This is similar to the nature paper that came out a little while ago about people being able to modulate the firing or single neurons in their brain that fired specifically to one concept or another (http://www.nature.com/news/2010/101027/full/news.2010.568.html). This type of work will probably be able to help people develop better and better neuroprosthetic devices for people to control external devices with their brain. Probably amputees to control prosthetic limbs, or locked-in patients to be able to communicate with the outside world. Thanks for sharing this study!

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