They say a picture is worth a thousand words. And there’s a good reason we humans find an image so compelling — most of the information we gather about the world around is done visually, through our eyes.

For instance, when you’re chatting with your best …

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The Pretty, Compelling Pictures of fMRI

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  1. While I agree that much is to be learned yet, the fMRI or any other test is usually not a stand alone technology in determining answers it helps weigh in on. The fact that it is an indirect measurement is not that great of an issue by itself. If that were true we should have equal concern about indirect measurements in other areas…lets say information gleaned from the use of telescopes. There is nothing in science that says we must know everyting in an area of science before we use what we know. The best assurance we have to move forward in a reasoned and responsible way is to keep every aspect of the debate open for critical review.

  2. I find this kind of article very useful. Thanks for sorting through all this stuff and evaluating reported results.

    It’s especially importatant for me, as an acadmic librarian, to know how popular media stories relate to the published research.

  3. One noteworthy benefit of functional MRI brain scans is their use for educating mainstream pre-teen students about how their brain works. This is not the same as studying human biological structure! For emotional health educators like me, fMRI visualizes and validates uncomfortable feelings that we vaguely sense, but often question or deny. For years I have been referring to brain imaging in Coping Skills for Kids in 4th thru 6th grade classrooms. I do this to shows kids how our brain actually processes our emotional pain. Brain imaging provides concrete evidence that “loss, rejection, betrayal, and humiliation” are stimuli for everyday brain responses to stressful and painful emotional experiences. This stimulates kids’ curiosity about using brain-based practical coping skills in everyday life. PsychCentral is also a superb educational resource for “functional brain literacy,” a subject I believe should be part of every student’s education. Preventive education is desperately needed today since so many coping-challenged pre-teens need to become better prepared for the brain and behavior changes that otherwise tend to overwhelm them during teenage years.

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