Neuroimage 2019 03 4;188:291-301. Epub 2018 Dec 4.
Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Neuroimaging, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK; UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College London, UK.
Can we change our perception by controlling our brain activation? Awareness during binocular rivalry is shaped by the alternating perception of different stimuli presented separately to each monocular view. We tested the possibility of causally influencing the likelihood of a stimulus entering awareness. To do this, participants were trained with neurofeedback, using realtime functional magnetic resonance imaging (rt-fMRI), to differentially modulate activation in stimulus-selective visual cortex representing each of the monocular images. Neurofeedback training led to altered bistable perception associated with activity changes in the trained regions. The degree to which training influenced perception predicted changes in grey and white matter volumes of these regions. Short-term intensive neurofeedback training therefore sculpted the dynamics of visual awareness, with associated plasticity in the human brain.