Research Applications

Human fMRI based on the endogenous contrast agent (deoxyhemoglobin) was first reported in 1991. In the ensuing 10 years the growth of fMRI-based research applications has been explosive. The easiest (and probably the most accurate) way to summarize the range of fMRI-based research applications is "all of psychology and neuroscience''. In addition to widespread reports of results of fMRI-based research in general scientific and popular journals, there are two journals devoted exclusively to the technical developments and applications of human brain mapping, for which fMRI is a primary tool. Research applications range from the classical psychophysical questions of sensation, perception, and attention to higher level processes of cognition, language, and emotion, in both normal and patient populations. Even domains ranging from psychotherapy to genetics are beginning to make use of fMRI-based experiments. The impact of fMRI on a few select areas of research is elaborated next.

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