Every study in our lab is a little different, but most involve filling out some forms and performing computer based games or tasks. In many of our studies these computer tasks are conducted while participants are undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging or MRI. An MRI machine uses strong magnets to acquire pictures of your brain. The MRI procedure involves lying inside a big metal tube with a special helmet over your head. You won’t feel anything and it is completely safe but you will have to lie very still or the pictures will be blurry.
Some studies also use a procedure called functional near infrared spectroscopy or fNIRS to measure brain activity. In the fNIRS procedure small lights in a cap are placed over your head and we detect activity on the surface of your brain by measuring how much light is absorbed. FNIRS is very similar to the pulse-oximeter that doctors often use to measure pulse from the finger only the light is shown on the brain rather than on the fingertips. Like our MRI procedures we will often ask you to play a computer game during our procedures. Also like MRI fNIRS is a completely painless and safe procedure.
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