Delineating implicit and explicit processes in neurofeedback learning

Publication type: 
Santiago Muñoz-Moldes et Axel Cleeremans

Muñoz-Moldes, S., Cleeremans, A. (2020) Delineating implicit and explicit processes in neurofeedback learning Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 118, 681-688


Abstract : Neurofeedback allows humans to self-regulate neural activity in specific brain regions and is considered a promising tool for psychiatric interventions. Recently, methods have been developed to use neurofeedback implicitly, prompting a theoretical debate on the role of awareness in neurofeedback learning. We offer a critical review of the role of awareness in neurofeedback learning, with a special focus on recently developed neuro-feedback paradigms. We detail differences in instructions and propose a fine-grained categorization of tasks based on the degree of involvement of explicit and implicit processes. Finally, we review the methods used to measure awareness in neurofeedback and propose new candidate measures. We conclude that explicit processes cannot be eschewed in most current implicit tasks that have explicit goals, and suggest ways in which awareness could be better measured in the future. Investigating awareness during learning will help understand the learning mechanisms underlying neurofeedback learning and will help shape future tasks.
Keywords : neurofeedback, biofeedback, learning, training, awareness, discrimination, consciousness, self-evaluation, performance monitoring, metacognition

Year of publication : 
Magazine published in: 
Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews