Ways of investigating the brain


Scanning and other techniques

  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging
    • fMRI works by detecting the changes in blood oxygenation and flow that occur as a result of neural activity in specific parts of the brain
    • When a brain area is more active it requires more oxygen and to meet this demand, blood flow is directed to the active area (haemodynamic response)
    • fMRI produces 3-D images
    • + Does not rely on radiation, virtually risk free, non-invasive and straightforward to use
    • +Very high spatial resolution, providing a clear picture of how brain activity is localised
    • -Expensive compared to toher techniques
    • -Can only capture an image if a person is perfectly still
    • -Poor temporal resolution, 5 second time lag behind the image on screen and the initial firing of neuronal activity
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG)
    • EEGs measure electrical activity within the brain via electrodes on a skull cap
    • The scan recording represents the brainwave patterns that are generated from actions of neurons, providing an overall account…


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