Functional MRI (fMRI)
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) allows researchers to investigate the mechanisms underlying information processing in the human brain. Most fMRI studies use standard MRI scanners to collect images sensitive to changes in blood oxygenation level-dependent (BOLD) contrast, which provides an indirect measure of neuronal activity. The images collected in BOLD fMRI experiments generally have spatial resolution on the order of several millimeters and temporal resolution on the order of several seconds. fMRI provides several advantages over other human neuroimaging techniques: it is noninvasive, can be adapted to a wide range of experiments, and allows good localization of activation. Because of these and other strengths, fMRI has grown over the past two decades to become the dominant technique in human cognitive neuroscience. However, fMRI also has significant limitations, especially regarding the conclusions that can be drawn from individual studies. This article introduces the basic physical and physiological principles of fMRI, followed by a consideration of the core concepts involved in fMRI experimentation. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.
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