Individual Sensory Modality Dominance as an Influential Factor in the Prefrontal Neurofeedback Training for Spatial Processing: A Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study

Takeshi Sakurada, Mayuko Matsumoto, Shin Ichiroh Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Neurofeedback is a neuromodulation technique used to improve brain function by self-regulating brain activity. However, the efficacy of neurofeedback training varies widely between individuals, and some participants fail to self-regulate brain activity. To overcome intersubject variation in neurofeedback training efficacy, it is critical to identify the factors that influence this type of neuromodulation. In this study, we considered that individual differences in cognitive ability may influence neurofeedback training efficacy and aimed to clarify the effect of individual working memory (WM) abilities, as characterized by sensory modality dominance, on neurofeedback training efficacy in healthy young adults. In particular, we focused on the abilities of individuals to retain internal (tactile or somatosensory) or external (visual) body information in their WM. Forty participants performed functional near-infrared spectroscopy-based neurofeedback training aimed at producing efficient and lower-level activity in the bilateral dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and frontopolar cortex. We carried out a randomized, sham-controlled, double-blind study that compared WM ability before and after neurofeedback training. Individual WM ability was quantified using a target searching task that required the participants to retain spatial information presented as vibrotactile or visual stimuli. Participants who received feedback information based on their own prefrontal activity showed gradually decreasing activity in the right prefrontal area during the neurofeedback training and demonstrated superior WM ability during the target searching task with vibrotactile stimuli compared with the participants who performed dummy neurofeedback training. In comparison, left prefrontal activity was not influenced by the neurofeedback training. Furthermore, the efficacy of neurofeedback training (i.e., lower right prefrontal activity and better searching task performance) was higher in participants who exhibited tactile dominance rather than visual dominance in their WM. These findings indicate that sensory modality dominance in WM may be an influential neurophysiological factor in determining the efficacy of neurofeedback training. These results may be useful in the development of neurofeedback training protocols tailored to individual needs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number774475
JournalFrontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Feb 10


  • functional near-infrared spectroscopy
  • individual differences
  • neurofeedback
  • prefrontal cortex
  • sensory modality
  • working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Individual Sensory Modality Dominance as an Influential Factor in the Prefrontal Neurofeedback Training for Spatial Processing: A Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this