A mini-review on functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS): Where do we stand, and where should we go?


This mini-review is aimed at briefly summarizing the present status of functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) and predicting where the technique should go in the next decade. This mini-review quotes 33 articles on the different fNIRS basics and technical developments and 44 reviews on the fNIRS applications published in the last eight years. The huge number of review articles about a wide spectrum of topics in the field of cognitive and social sciences, functional neuroimaging research, and medicine testifies to the maturity achieved by this non-invasive optical vascular-based functional neuroimaging technique. Today, fNIRS has started to be utilized on healthy subjects while moving freely in different naturalistic settings. Further instrumental developments are expected to be done in the near future to fully satisfy this latter important aspect. In addition, fNIRS procedures, including correction methods for the strong extracranial interferences, need to be standardized before using fNIRS as a clinical tool in individual patients. New research avenues such as interactive neurosciences, cortical activation modulated by different type of sport performance, and cortical activation during neurofeedback training are highlighted.