Ways of studying the brain

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  • Ways of studying the brain
    • fMRI
      • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
      • When a brain is more active it consumes more oxygen and blood flow is directed to the active area
      • fMRI produces a 3D image which shows the different active parts of the brain and therefore must be involved in particular mental processes
      • Non invasive
      • Expensive
    • EEG
      • Electoencephalogram
      • Measures electrical activity within the brain via electrodes using a skull cap
      • Scan recording represents the brain wave patterns generated by millions of neurons. Showing overall brain activity.
      • Often used as an diagnostic tool.
      • Invaluable for diagnosing conditions such as epilepsy
      • Information is received from thousands of neurons
    • ERPs
      • Event related potentials
      • What is left when all extraneous brain activity from EEG recordings
      • Using a statistical technique, leaving only responses that relate to the presentation of a specific stimulus or performance of a certain task
      • Type of brainwave that are triggered by particular events
      • Research has revealed many different forms of ERP and how these are linked to cognitive processes
      • Very specific measurement of neural processes
      • Lack of standardization in methodology between studies
    • Post mortem examinations
      • Technique involving the analysis of a persons brain following their death
      • Areas of the brain are examined to establish the likely cause of a deficit or disorder that the person suffered in life
      • May involve comparison with a neurotypical brain in order to assess the difference
      • Provided foundation for understanding the brain
      • Causation may be an issue


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